Monday, November 18, 2019

Listen: Diamanda La Berge Dramm - "Amazon"

photo by Juri Hiensch
My introduction to Dutch violinist Diamanda La Berge Dramm came curiously enough when I was scrolling through Instagram. As I was mindless swiping through the stories of my friends and casual acquaintances, the sounds of her siren-recalling glissandos coupled by her featherweight vocals immediately made me pause. A whole host of questions immediately rose in my brain: who is this? Who posted this? Where can I hear more? Those questions were immediately answered as the poster was none other than Peter McLaughlin, founder of the Pretty Purgatory label, announcing a new single of Dramm's from the collaborative record from Dramm and English poet SJ Fowler Beastings.

Before even looking up Dramm's biography, I could tell Dramm had a reputation that far proceeded her simply after listening to more than the 14 second sound bite McLaughlin has unknowingly gifted me with. Dramm started violin at the age of four, studied at the New England Conservatory, Royal Conservatory of Music at the Hague, and has devoted much of her professional career towards the presentation of new music, founding Splendor, an artist collective and arts space in Amsterdam that regularly puts on concerts. 

"Amazon", the second single from Dramm's forthcoming album Beastings, immediately hooked me with is juxtaposition of opposites - Dramm's vocals are light and airy against at first an effect not unlike a sliding trombone, and then a mounting cacophony of  Dramm caresses Fowler's texts holding them firmly aloft above them to set the mood but also to leap out among the fray of otherworldly sounds Dramm is somehow able to weave from her violin. Fowler's texts are elusive, weaving paths of serpentine grace as Dranm's accompaniment blooms forth, both occasionally dealing glancing blows at they intersect at just the right moments. "To be inside a background noise of a thing I don't possess" Dramm sings, accented by a rumbling low end. 

"Amazon" is an excellent piece of songcraft - multitudinous in sound and meaning, a luxurious unfurling reverie that's both delightful simple and awe-inspiringly complex. It's a testament to Dramm's compositional prowess that she's able to craft such a lush backdrop of infinitely rewarding instrumental flourishes that doesn't distract from the simplistic but elusive beauty of Fowler's text. 

Diamanda La Berge Dramm's Beastings is out November 22nd on Pretty Purgatory. It's available as a digital download, a rose colored cassette or as a CD with a chapbook featuring lyrics and expanded poens from SJ Fowler. 

No comments:

Post a Comment