UK musician Elsa Hewitt has been at the game of slightly off-kilter electronic heart-warmers for a minute now, but I’m just coming around to her music with her most recent album, Citrus Paradisi, released March 1 via her own label, ERH Records.
The record is quite delightful and I’ll definitely be featuring it in my Recommended Albums post for March. It does one of my all-time favorite things in music, which is seamlessly combine organic and synthetic textures into one cohesive sound while still allowing each quality to breathe and exist on its own terms. Hundred Waters’ first album being the prime example of this. A lot of Four Tet’s music too also falls within this realm. Bibio too, of course!
On Citrus Paradisi we hear tight electronics being built as a framework small bits of field recordings, clinking percussion and delicate guitar, to plink, pluck and plonk around in. Hewitt’s vocals mesh into the mix well, never fully emerging from the web of sound surrounding it, but getting the job done as a sort of silhouette & puppeteering show; billowing and changing shape with the direction of the currents. One could pull out the “microhouse” genre tag that always reminds me of that Kidkanevil & Daisuke Tanabe collab Kidsuke, (def not a bad thing!) – but there’s more than that at play here. There are pop structures in place that guide these songs along to an existence that serves more than being just “a beat” or “a vibe”. They’re engaging, narrative-driven songs that allow the listener to dance along, or purely just dream within.
I’m still working on a sensory description for the RecAlbums post, but the sounds here are at times both murky and glittering, like shining a flashlight in a dark & damp cave only to have the light beam refract on multi-colored crystals lining the walls & ceiling. And at times it reminds me of the night scenes in Totoro.