Drum & Lace ~ Natura

After a run of acclaimed singles, EPs and film and TV scores (“Dickinson,” “Good Girls,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer”), Drum & Lace (Sofia Hultquist) is finally releasing her debut album.  Natura is confident and catchy, the artist’s vast experience giving her an advantage over most debut appearances.

In 2019, we placed the artist’s semi songs in Modern Composition after a brief discussion; this one lands in a different category because the dominant element has shifted.  The strings are still present, contributed by the London Contemporary Orchestra, but Natura is also a club-friendly album, featuring many possible singles.  The first of these, “Creatura” and “Armatura,” are also the opening tracks, the first instrumental, the second including sparse vocals.  Amazingly, Drum & Lace has the potential to chart in both pop and indie arenas due to her chameleon-like nature.

The mixture of organic and electronic illustrates the album’s loose theme: the interplay between nature and technology.  The album’s longest track, “Waxing Crescent,” is built on a foundation of modular synth, with onomatopoeic vocals wafting over the rhythms.  The timbre is as lush as a rain forest, despite its artificial elements.  Field recordings crackle underneath, a souvenir of the gentle earth.  The blending is reminiscent of Björk’s Biophilia, which also contains a track titled “Náttúra.” The template is repeated on the immersive “Prasiano,” which beckons listeners into a wondrous trance-like world where all time markers are erased.

The album’s shortest track, “Sullen,” is also its turning point.  In 1:24, this quiet piece shifts from rain-drenched synth to church bells, sparking the return of the orchestra, which features on three of the last four tracks.  The strings add a melancholic depth, which turns spiritual as the bells turn to chimes on “Moss.”  The ancient meets the modern and finds a peaceful welcome, an instinctive integration.  It all leads to the album’s stunning finale, “Plantae,” on which Hultquist and the LCO are joined by percussionist Valentina Magaletti (TOMAGA).  The electronic pulse is replaced by the organic, the synthesizers dance in the trees, the wooden violins meet their ancestors, while Sofia sings wordlessly over it all.  All elements are reconciled.  Harmony is achieved.  The birds sing us sweetly home.  (Richard Allen)

One comment

  1. Pingback: Reblog – Drum & Lace ~ Natura — a closer listen | Feminatronic

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