Joanne Robertson & Sidsel Meineche Hansen Alien Baby

Label
Tenderbooks
Released
28th January 2022

Format Info

LP - black vinyl
Limited to 300

Some people just have IT and play with it, sometimes recklessly, in their hands, tantalising beholders or sometimes throwing it away only to find it again after a detour in the wilderness. Joanne Robertson has IT, and I suppose we mean a gift, like a skeleton key to the heart, something almost undefinable that’s instantly recognisable when you hear it. For this beholder, it’s the way her voice is drawn out draped in reverb over spidery guitar, wisps of vowels curling in and about the minimalist strings tenderly strummed. IT is in that curious between space where the words leave her throat and hit the back of your mind. Her journey in the underground has many barely signposted twists and turns, making plenty of solo music that often peaks in our end of year charts as well as sprinkling the music of Dean Blunt with some straight up beauty. On Angel Baby she partners with Danish artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen for an album that threatens to be derailed with abstraction or Dadaist antics before landing some massive emotive body blows.

Like some of the best art, Alien Baby can be frustrating as well as beguiling, not settling down to give us 10 tracks of the same thing. Instead, the album ping pongs between dirgy guitar downstrokes that sparkle in the dark with Robertson’s vocal before drifting into pitchshifted vocal interplay between the two provocateurs in tracks like “Baby” which, to all intents and purposes, seeks to replicate the pre-linguistic utterances of children with pitch shifting, perhaps done with file sharing or perhaps in a room somewhere with the two artists pissing themselves at the joke. To be honest, it’s actually a brilliant one-two punchline as these more abstract pieces frame the stark beauty of the balladry. You’re never allowed to settle with Alien Baby, instead you’re forced into engaging actively with what your ears are faced with and the dichotomies make each composite part more rewarding. Much like the work of Inga Copeland, for example, who similarly likes to detour their own most beautiful, straight-foward work with sidesteps and shadow boxed intentions. In short, you’re never allowed to be truly comfortable in this Alien Baby world and maybe that’s IT as much as anything.

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