Laura Kranz has been involved with music from a young age. At the age of thirteen she started composing songs for a local choir. She became proficient at piano and won the Paderewski Gold Medal at age 17 and the 2007 MTNA piano performance competition for Washington State at age18. She went on to study composition and released a number of her albums.
I took a listen to her 2016 release The Mark It Makes which revolved around a solo piano. It was an enjoyable sparse listen but worlds away from her latest release Mutagenesis. Mutagenesis is much more dense with layers and production. It contains altered vocals, synths, samples, pianos and I’m sure much more.
Mutagenesis is what you could consider an avant garde experimental album with palatable hooks. There is a deep artistic quality that veers towards the post modernism. Suffice It say I felt her music could fall between artists like Bjork, Arca, Jlin and Zola Jesus.
The album opens with “The Sea” which melds different elements like piano, synths and percussion. There are some notable melodies but for me the thing that stuck out was the gradual changes in BPM which I felt defined the song. Up next was “More Than What Exactly” which was the song that got my attention. There is some inventive production here overall and I really enjoyed what was happening with vocals.
I was starting to feel the raw human emotion that surpasses art for art's sake on “Daycatcher” where Kranz delivers a heartfelt vocal performance. The effects on the vocals were subtle and effective. “One Layer Out” felt more like a soundscape but was nonetheless beautiful..
“All Your Blood” felt like the most single worthy and conventional song on the album. The experimentation on “Gone” pays offs from its sounding like a standard piano ballad while the title track is a club thumper type dance song.
As much experience as Kranz has into music I feel like her step into advanced production is just getting started. Something about this album felt like her best work is yet to come and she is still exploring the possibilities of where it can go.
Overall, Mutagenesis was a really good album that balances experimentation with melodic structure in an appealing and satisfying way. I’d say this album creates a solid foundation for her to build upon and I have a feeling we will be hearing more from her soon.
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