"This record sort of changed our life, and probably changed many of yours too. It was originally released as part of 12x12, a series of one-sided releases we started back in 2017 and which is still ongoing (lol). It’s a release that seemed to capture the imagination of pretty much everyone; it felt like it was licensed, playlisted and written about all over the place - we get asked about it constantly - pretty much daily - so chances are, you already know what we’re talking about. What we didn’t know though, until a while after it came out, was that ‘Grafts’ also had a b-side, a 20 minute piece called ‘Undo’ which was omitted because the series was one-sided. Yeah, we know. Anyway, here it is: the extended, two-sided edition of Grafts, aka the greatest."
A sublime and quietly hypnotic work belied by steadfast conceptual rigour, Grafts is the most ambitious and involving work yet from Kara-Lis Coverdale, her first since 2015.
In three parts of cascading yet plaintive multi-instrumental gestures, Grafts expands on the processing and self-temperement techniques explored on 2014’s A 480 into a more encompassing palette. Uncompromisingly distinct while redolent of modal minimalism, 70s, new age, and folk music, Grafts effectively blurs distinctions between traditional composition and more open, overlapping genres that hover in the half-light between acoustic and electronic refinement.
Frames of reference are numerous and on the face of it largely disconnected; the deviant pop instinct of Arthur Russell, the organic/synthetic love songs of Art of Noise, the meditative, almost hallucinogenic spiralling compositions of Philip Glass and Terry Riley, the intoxicated minimal romance of Erik Satie, Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto’s austere, beautiful sound sculpting....all, and none of the above.
In both concept and execution, Grafts firmly resonates with Kara-Lis Coverdale’s deeply established roots as an improvisational virtuoso and accomplished pianist as much as her academically informed approach to electroacoustic composition that showcases a distinct omnivorous appetite for the digital. But it’s an emotional generosity that proves to be its defining, most intangible characteristic. Never fully coming to a resolution. Lingering on like a slowly dispersing plume of smoke.