Mortal is the third album from Annie Leeth we will be reviewing here at Divide and Conquer. It’s also another exceptional effort that displays her talent well beyond just a looping violin. Leeth has made beautiful and original music but here she spreads her wings with more experimentation that delivers a wider array of sonic possibility.
The percussive aspects are more prominent with these songs. There is more of a bounce to the songs but it’s never a straightforward dance beat. A much better comparison would be an artist like Bjork or Anna Meredith.
I also got the impression she felt less inclined to have to utilize the violin as a focal point. This really made the songs breathe with a multi-patchwork type of visibility. Take for instance the opener “Heavy” which combines melancholy violin, glitches, bleeps and blips. Her vocals when they show up aren’t the focal point but felt like another element added to the mix. The violins swell towards the end of the song.
On “Tube Screamer” we get more of a lead vocal. The vocals are airy and whispered not too far from what you might hear from the group Lali Puna. As the song progresses the peaks come from layering which is beautifully orchestrated.
“Sherbert Sky” has a whimsical quality to it and is a certified highlight. The vocals and violin are an integral aspect often slowly exploding into clouds of atmosphere. It was one of the most emotionally powerful songs.
“Stuck With (feat. SAFETY SECOND) combines many disparate elements like vocal clips with flute that combine to a kinetic energy. I couldn’t help but think of elves and fairies. “Redo! Redo!” juxtaposes metallic percussive elements with layers of violin. The vocals on “Naïve” are fantastic. The lyrics and delivery here is dream like. I loved the line “when will it be so.” She closes with “Sherbert Sky Reprise” which puts the vocal harmonies upfront in the mix.
Mortal is an album that succeeds because the production adds to the emotion. At the end of the day most of us want music to move us in some way. We want it to make us think and feel something and there is no doubt Mortal did both of those things for me.
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