Honestly not sure how I came across this record. It just floated into my life one day. That method of discovery is pretty appropriate for how the music sounds, so I’m not mad about it. Starland is the debut album of Brooklyn-based artist Claire Dickson, who created the album in her apartment and at sea in the Arctic circle on a college project. The resulting LP is a shifting, uncanny deconstruction of pop and jazz tropes, scattered across an open, frigid sky. It’s got a co-sign from Vijay Iyer, so I think it’s legit.
The song I’m focusing on here, “Sea Change”, is probably the most direct song on the album, with up-front vocal melodies, deep sound design (handclaps, discordant harp, rumbling bass synthesizer lurking below) and surreal lyrics. Like this tune, many feel like you’re wandering through a dream. Things just emerge and don’t make any sense, but you progress onward. Some songs meander a bit, trailing away from the initial propulsion that they began with, but eventually find their way back to their basecamps with new flecks of paint spattered upon it. Definitely the start of a songwriter and artist coming into their own.
While listening, similar-sounding names that came to me in an instant included Bernice, Cross Record, Elsa Hewitt and at times Björk’s quieter moments on Vespertine (I know, BIG comparison there), so if any of those folks pique your fancy, I recommend plunging into Starland‘s icy waters.