Friday, March 11, 2011

Fielded - White Death EP on Sophomore Lounge Records

Here's a long playing 33 1/3 7", from Fielded, which essentially is a solo project by Lindsay Ann Powell, who recorded and played everything on this 4 song and still the thing that stands out for me is this amazing voice.

The 'White Death' EP is appropriately pressed on white vinyl inside a black and white sleeve.
It couldn't come at a better time following yesterdays Trophy Wife. Equally as minimal and haunting Fielded get a different kind of ghostly. Using synth sounds instead of organic live instrumentation it sounds even more etherial and ominous, except of course for Lindsay's vocals which are very close to Zola Jesus or Terror Bird with even a hint of folk melancholoy like Beth Tacular (is that her real name?) from theBowerbirds. It keeps the whole affair from getting too depressing actually, it's just too good.

'Garden Lace' slowly fades in, just barely audible. Lindsay is exploring the human voice as a pure instrument from the first track. Heavily effected warbling echo whispers under a definitive melody, taking over this essentially acapella track and deconstructing the vocal into syllables and sounds. Take away the content it has an inherent trouble in communicating anyway. You get a feel for the content before you can even understand the words (thankfully provided on the xerox insert).

The title track brings in more electronics but the beat is a vocalized set of layered breaths. The track is immediately way too catchy and repeatable for the chorus of layered vocals angelically together singing about a 'White Death'. That shouldn't want to make you bounce. I'm feeling guilty because it's heavy stuff. Slightly goth, like Siouxsie and the Banshee or a restrained Knife this one is just as epic in it's insettling melody and rhythm. The same unusual instrumentation and experimentation are important to Fielded. It's not enough to have a voice like this with an innate sense of melody that could work all on it's own, you have to have the willingness to go in completely uncharted territory that makes this something special.

On 'Late come to stay' her voice is stronger than ever over a slow tempo bare bones thin drum machine beat and low bass electronics. A little bit paralyzing, this is an ancient hymn trying to work through the bad times. A cold, dark, 'We will overcome' full of metaphors and stream of consciousness cut-up lyrics. It's a dream, not a nightmare. The themes of light and whiteness sound hopeful in the face of terrible experiences she's singing about and the mournful vocal delivery. Eventually a slow primitive beat comes in to further obscure the meanings.
It's increasingly melodic and abstract. There's really an amazing voice at work here, I obviously can't get over it, and the fact that this all was created single handedly is all the more impressive. She's the complete package of talent and experiment. It's an incredibly varied EP, not showing off, just letting you in on this hazy dream that begins and ends with Fielded.

Get it from Sophomore Lounge Records.

Picking up and sweeping forward with this home-sewn, four-song 7", White Death is Fielded's first release since stunning us with Terrageist (Catholic Tapes, 2010), the Chicago Music Award-nominated full-length for which her praises were sung by Kevin Hufnagel (of Dysrhythmia, in his Top Ten Albums of The Year) and Foxy Digitalis, referring to Fielded as "a collection of all the best moments of Bjork, which makes her better." The White Death 7" is a special, limited-edition pressing of 250 (150 black/100 white) with art direction by Mikie Poland (Aethletics) and hand-printed/fold-over jackets by Dan Davis (Kin Ship Press).

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