“Où la mélancolie et l’espoir règnent d’une manière groovy” — Carla Galmiche.
A week back saw Montpellier based artist Carla Galmiche aka KARLITA release the perfectly balanced and stunningly fit for purpose Lazydayz, her new EP for Melbourne label clipp.art. As close to understated perfection as you’ll get with not a second overcooked or underdone, its five tracks are in equal measure standouts in their own right creating a mood and texture that oscillates between introspective melancholy and unbridled bliss. Glowing synth pads generate melodic swirls of layered lounge, downtempo and lo-fi inspired house, underpinned by lilting bass lines and adorned by tinges of darkwave and trip-hop imbued electronics. Accompanying that heady mix is Galmiche’s sparing yet effective use of her own vocals and the insertion and manipulation of carefully selected vocal samples. The essential finishing touches are provided by the EP’s rhythmic elements that see multifarious sounding beats and precisely applied percussion carefully arranged to provide a diverse and contextual tempo adorned with a delectable and divine blend of hat sounds and patterns. Together they establish a definitively busy yet demonstrably unhurried groove.
And therein lies Galmiche’s undoubted compositional and production abilities skilfully utilising these disparate elements but keeping each in harmonious check, only allowing them to play their appropriate part disciplined to groove and track intentions. There seems to be an insistence on understatement in overall composition where no musical or thematic element is allowed to even attempt to shine at the expense of another. It’s almost as if she has them each competing with each other in their humility and regard for process. The resulting harmony and balance in sound and dynamic is directly down to the relationships she creates with those tools at her disposal.
Witness the way each element is carefully introduced on opener ‘La Chamade’. Swirling synth is joined by a patterned kick and the track’s echoed and sparingly used vocal line, a flatpack snare and shuffling percussion join the fray while the synth is slowly adorned with taps of resonant marimba. Once the groove and emotional feel is reached its minimalist vibe is maintained for maximum effect. ‘Don’t Worry’ is characterised by the way a oscillating staccato synth wraps slowly around a gentle combination of bass and kick eventually creating a symbiotic effect. Snare and percussion take proceedings to a measured height ready for a vocal sample of poignant quizzical admission and response to work their emotional magic. The downtempo soft clarion call of ‘Good Girl’ has a bedroom pop, almost Balearic vibe in its immediacy of its swing and breezy accessibility but the familiar open hat groove also establishes its lo-fi left field house credentials. With its hypnotic beat and murky sample, ‘Shadows’ emits a trip hop and witch house bent, complemented by the employment of darkwave imbued frequencies. Closer ‘Dangerous’ throws out spacey stabs of synth and a restrained two note bass line as a casual yet carefully chosen sample underlines the subtle yet insistent message of inclusion, equality and freedom where choice and opportunity are available to all free of patriarchal judgement and double standards.
Galmiche has stated that the central aim of her taking on the KARLITA persona was to create a project with emotional connection and one ‘where melancholy and hope reign in a groovy way’. That description fits Lazydayz perfectly and is indicative of her emotional and intellectual perspective and wide lens view of humanity. Like the multifaceted yet balanced nature of her music, Galmiche is more than aware that life’s experiences, positive or negative must be recognised and embraced but also be subject to subversion and challenge. To this end and in all other respects, Lazydayz sports an intelligent groove indeed.
James Stocker – 16th September, 2019.
1. La Chamade
2. Don’t Worry
3. Good Girl
From the EP, ‘Lazydayz’, clipp.art.
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