Alex Temple composes what the Grammy-winning Spectral Quartet with the magic voice of Julia Holter: modern, chamber music classicism with an elaborate vein of art, a surreal metamorphosis.
Four and a half years after Aviary the exceptional phenomenon Holter still has no desire for a new solo album and devotes himself to the soundtrack Never Rarely Sometimes Always again a new cooperation. Then she surrenders completely to the worlds that Temple envisions, and that Spectral Quartet – Theo Espy (violin), Clara Lyon (violin), Doyle Armbrust (viola), Russell Rolen (cello) – has created: her beguiling and otherworldly, as always enchanting organ provides the angelic, ethereal red thread in the structurally open and contour-free strings -ambiance; but she acts more like a curious visitor who never takes control, drifting in an enraptured cosmos (and therefore not creating the fascinating stylistic facets that Holter bestows on her own compositions), drawing the story of a self-discovery in sometimes abstract lyrics .
The listener also remains in a similar observer role, flowing along through a bittersweet concept labyrinth whose yearning, unreal atmosphere immediately captivates, but beyond the playing time of 34 minutes as a cascade of meandering ideas and never a really compelling one. ultimately remains too fleeting, with regard to its long-term effect primarily the aesthetics in a structure that is only minimally divided. It is true that more and more fine moments emerge from the fading spectrum – Tiny Holesthe psychedelic remoteness of Science Parkthe excited Fishmouth and the quiet interlude Meanwhile, where all those involved seem to be most likely to find a synergy that communicates with one another, instead of dreaming alongside one another.
What is meant to be intuitive and organically mutating only works together to a limited extent on an emotional level – Behind the Wallpaper has something of a cerebral beauty that one likes to run casually without goal-oriented efficiency, or a meticulous architectural grandeur that wants to get by without pragmatism. Not a second is bad about it – but only a fraction is really fulfilling, the work simply lacks the final epiphany in all its astonishing marvelousness, leaving it hanging latently in the air.