BA DA BING! records


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Natalie Chami’s project TALsounds documents solo sessions of improvised synthesis and live-looped vocal performances, presented to the listener as discrete takes without overdubs. The decisions made in her atmospheric sketches—the onset of a quivering vocal melody, the echoing turn of a delay knob—flash across as seismic ripples within a network of standing sounds. Love Sick, her first vinyl release, follows a series of full length tapes on labels like Hausu Mountain (run by Chami’s bandmates in free music trio Good Willsmith), Patient Sounds, and Moog’s own physical imprint. While these releases showcased Chami’s looser improvisations, drifting off into extended states of narcosis and looping architectures, this release distills her tactics of spontaneous composition into her most concise song cycle to date. Chami’s vocal performances are her most frank mode of address: fragments of discernible lyrics smear into melismatic melody lines and loop back around, intertwining into complex harmonies with her wordless vocalizations. Her vocal style, informed as much by her classical voice and opera training as by a lifetime of immersion in Björk, Portishead, Aaliyah, and Sade, blends a hands-on process of technical self-accompaniment with moments of diaristic intimacy. When her lyrics emerge in flashes of legibility, they draw out a fascination, or maybe a preoccupation, with the control that raw emotions have over mind and body. A remarkable anomaly in an era of bedroom producers and laptop-abetted pop projects, Chami sculpts dense fields of sound in live takes and channels improvised vocal performances into emotional frameworks that betray no defects for their process of instant conception. This way of making music has become second nature for her. Distinctions between genres and performance style give way to the clear limitlessness of her musical practice. Each moment is filled with clouds of abstraction and ambiguity, with some cosmic certainty that this is the only form for her to communicate.