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KELLY LEE OWENS

Kelly Lee Owens

Inner Song

    Kelly Lee Owens' masterful second album Inner Song finds the convention-blurring techno producer and singer/songwriter diving deep into her own psyche—excoriating the struggles she's faced over the last several years and exploring personal pain while embracing the beauty of the natural world. It's a leap in artistry from a musician who burst forth on the scene with a confident, rich sound, and Inner Song is endlessly enticing when it comes to what Owens is capable of.

    Inner Song follows the star-making debut of her 2017 self-titled album, a quixotic blend of body-moving beats and introspective songwriting that garnered numerous accolades from the music press. Owens has indeed come a long way from her background as a nurse, since then she has remixed Bjørk & St Vincent, released an indelibly clubby two-tracker, 2019's "Let It Go" b/w "Omen," and teamed up with likeminded auteur Jon Hopkins on the one-off "Luminous Spaces."

    Her latest album also comes off of what Owens describes as "the hardest three years of my life," an emotionally fraught time that, in her words, "Definitely impacted my creative life and everything I'd worked for up to that point. I wasn't sure if I could make anything anymore, and it took quite a lot of courage to get to a point where I could make something again." So while the lovely cover of Radiohead's "Arpeggi" might strike some as an unconventional way to open a sophomore effort, to Owens the winding take on the classic tune—recorded a year before work on Inner Song properly kicked off—represents the sort of sonic rebirth that's so essential to Inner Song's aura.

    Inner Song was largely written and recorded over a month last winter. As with her debut, Owens holed up in the studio with co-producer and collaborator James Greenwood —and letting loose in the studio and being open to whatever sonic whims emerge was essential to Owens' craftwork. The evocative title of the album is borrowed from free-jazz maestro Alan Silva's 1972 opus, which was gifted to Owens Smalltown Supersound's Joakim Haugland for her 30th birthday: "I'm so grateful for him and his perspectives—he's always thinking outside of the box. Those two words really reflect what it felt like to make this record. I did a lot of inner work in the past few years, and this is a true reflection of that." The hair-raising bass and tickling textures of Inner Song drive home that, more so than ever, Owens is locked in to delivering maximal sonic pleasure—as evidenced by the decision to make the album's vinyl release a sesqui album, or triple-sided album: "I'm still obsessed with frequencies that don't do well on vinyl if they don't have the space."

    "The power of conceptualizing who you are has really informed this album," Owens states about Inner Song's essence, and her second album is truly a discovery of self— the latest statement from a fascinating artist who continues to surprise, gesturing towards a rich and varied career to come.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xDinked Edition LP Info: 2LP Exclusive Clear Vinyl.
    Bonus Exclusive ‘Hidden’ track Side C.
    Etching on Side D.
    Signed and Numbered Exclusive 12” Art Print (Design exclusive to Dinked).

    2xColoured LP Info: White vinyl edition.

    Both Jon Hopkins’ and Kelly Lee Owens’ work perfectly complements each other here on ‘Luminous Spaces’; Hopkins’ transcendent, dancefloor-focussed electronics paired with Owens’ entrancing, often spiritual vocals and her ethereal techno production creates a euphoric electronic collaboration.

    What was originally destined to be a remix of Hopkins’ ‘Luminous Beings’ by Owens morphed into a track in its own right, following the pair working closely in the studio together.

    12’’ in black poly-lined inner sleeve with digital download card.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Spectral, star-gazing and blissed-out, Jon Hopkins & Kelly Lee Owens hit that sweet spot of relaxed euphoria. Gently rushing, this will go down perfectly at Bluedot festival!

    Kelly Lee Owens

    Kelly Lee Owens

      THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2017.

      Without wishing to get too jackanory, I'm gonna start this review with a little anecdote. Way back in April 2015, when I was a little younger and lot lighter, Kelly Lee Owens strolled into our glorious establishment and casually inquired if we'd be interested in stocking her self-released debut 12". Always a sucker for something new, limited and hand labeled I took a cursory ten copies off her hands as she left for the train station. Approximately four minutes later, as the dreamlike shimmer of ghost-pop paean "Lucid" echoed through my headphones I called the number she'd left and asked if she could drop off another thirty copies without missing her train. 

      Fast forward two years and three Piccadilly Record Of The Weeks later and the Welsh wonder is back with a majestic full length on the excellent Smalltown Supersound. As she leads us through ten tracks of spectral techno, nebulous synth pop and squelching waveforms, Kelly meditates on anxiety, sadness and darkly-shaded ecstacy, pouring pure emotion into an expansive electronic landscape. Previous 12" tracks "Arthur", "Lucid" and the hypnotic "CBM" sound better than ever next to the brooding synth soul of "S.O." and late night mysticism of Jenny Hval collaboration "Anxi", while the bleep heavy "Evolution" is a sultry, seductive club cut for very late in the session. For me, this LP perfectly captures those moments when you get home from the club with a loved one and settle into that time honoured pre dawn routine. It's intimate, emotional, sexy and slightly blurred - in other words, midnight music at its finest. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: An absurdly accomplished debut, this is just about as Piccadilly as it gets, referencing our collective favourites and transforming them into something fresh and exciting. Harnessing the Cocteau’s, MBV and JAMC, as well as the rhythmic thrust of Chicago and Detroit, KLO trades in immersive, psychedelic pop music, as danceable as it is dreamy. Swathes of hazy synthesis eddy and whirl beneath crystalline vocals, lending the music an aquatic depth matched perfectly by the intimate, expressive lyrics. Fusing the outsider musings of Arthur Russell with Bjork’s cryptic poetry, Kelly meditates on anxiety, sadness, identity and ecstasy, pouring pure emotion into an expansive electronic landscape. A dynamic listen from start to finish, the LP ranges from the hypnotic thump of ‘Evolution’, ‘CBM’ and ‘Bird’ to the medicated daze of ‘S.O’, ‘Lucid’ and ‘Keep Walking’, constantly varying tempo and intensity on its way to sprawling closer ‘8’, a wonderfully blurred end to this nocturnal journey.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Deluxe CD Info: This extended version includes 3 bonus tracks, "Spaces", "Pull" and "1 out of 3".


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