Turn on, tune in + drop out
Rhys Delany
09:43 4th May 2022

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In 2020 Kelly Lee Owens released her second passionate and danceable album, Inner Song. This was followed up by an equally exciting UK and US tour in 2021. Her new album, LP.8, is a change in direction that is less late-night floor fillers and more morning after comedown that asks you to turn on, tune in and drop out.

Album opener 'Release', with its repetitive rhythm and stoic vocals, feels like the metaphorical progression into new territory. Owens is releasing herself from her usual techno stylings to something that feels more introspective whilst still giving so much away.

The album was recorded in Oslo, which Owens describes as feeling like a "portal of energy", and that energy certainly feels captured. The meditative, 'Anadlu', while connecting with its Welsh language heritage, likewise chimes to the Northern skies it was recorded beneath. This song, and others such as 'Olga' and 'Quickening', make this album feel both transcendent and solemn.

However, the music is not simply just soft synths and atmosphere, as can be heard on tracks like 'Voices' and 'Sonic 8'. These songs come with Owens’ signature crystal clear tone and abstract construction that keeps the mood moving. Likewise, the personnel for the album has been very well considered. Owens clearly knows who and what works well as she brought in Cherif Hashizume, known for his work with Daniel Avery and Jon Hopkins, to mix the album while mastering was done by Beau Thomas of the Hyperdub label.

The richly-textured atmosphere of the album could be attributed to the influence of labelmate, Lasse Marhaug, the avant-garde composer who has worked with harsh noise and drone artists such as SUNN O))) and Merzbow but perhaps more pressingly, the producer of three folky dream-pop albums by Jenny Hval. The combination of his ideas and Owens’ music is certainly a triumph. Marhaug wanted to bring a Throbbing Gristle influence while Owens wanted to channel Enya, and the end result is a perfect show of Coil-esque moon musik.

LP.8, while feeling like a somewhat sonic departure, still feels like a complete Kelly Lee Owens album. If anything, this album has allowed Owens to expand herself as an artist in the most complementary of ways. Rather than overstep into oblique, Owens glides through greatness. LP.8 is a definitive album of the year.

LP. 8 is out now.

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Photo: Press