Carla Dal Forno: Look Up Sharp (Kallista/digital outlets)

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I'm Conscious
Carla Dal Forno: Look Up Sharp (Kallista/digital outlets)
Melbourne-born and Berlin-based Carla Dal Forno is very much the independent artist we expect to hear from in the 21stcentury: drawing from tasting notes of pop history (depressive 4AD artists, Eno, This Mortal Coil, gloomy pop but not the full Goth) and wrapping her emotionally distant speak-sing vocals into them with music which is stately and often slow (which flags that she's A Serious Artist).

Available technology allows for some lovely layering of vocals (the fragrant Don't Follow Me) and the gentle oceanic movement of synths in places make for some easy/uneasy listening.

Instrumental passages such as in Leaving for Japan are pretty but hardly innovative.

And the sound of a Joy Division 45 on 33rpm parallels the icicle in her heart of a piece like the disconcerting So Much Better (“I'm glad I caused you pain . . . I'm happy you are still the same, I'm so much better . . . than you” ) which is akin to a detached, monochrome Princess Chelsea track.

That high and present bass is part of her aural signature (Took a Long Time) and the loveless, cold lyrics of Ian Curtis are also in her orbit on songs like I'm Conscious and Took a Long Time.

This is a seductive album for its textures and cohesion (if it had more sensuality and eroticism in the lyrics it would be close to some material by Vanessa Daou), but with a few exceptions – the almost pop of So Much Better, the downbeat electronics of Push On – this comes off like a look in the mirror for all concerned.

You can hear it on Spotify here.


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