Published Jun 01, 2018In 2015, Guardian Alien member Alexandra Drewchin dropped a pair of cassettes for the Hausu Mountain imprint, the highly acclaimed Metalepsis and RIP Chrysalis. The material on those releases, which found Drewchin working as Eartheater, ventured beyond the strange psychedelic geographies charted by the Guardian Alien mothership, into a universe less familiar but oddly more enchanting. Drewchin's three-octave vocal range was the energy-gathering core around which that early material revolved; her siren's call served as a beacon to lure fellow travellers toward sonic ecstasy.
With IRISIRI, Drewchin joins forces with PAN, a label known for its boundary-less approach toward experimental and electronic music. It's a perfect match, as the artist has completely re-defined her oeuvre into a cosmic maelstrom of consciousness-shattering sound. On offer is an evolving, extra-sensory shadow show replete with mutant classical music tropes, fractured electronic viscera, the dying gasps of a forgotten operating system, and an unmatched voice that veers between honey sweetness and contorted glossolalia.
As bizarre as IRISIRI seems on the surface, there are delightful near-pop song structures that form ornate skeletons for Drewchin to layer synths, samples and other sonic ephemera overtop. "Not Worried" is a vaporous slow jam, and "Inclined" would be a rousing banger in a parallel dimension. The soporific haze of "Inkling" feels almost static when paired up with the quivering "MTTM." "C.L.I.T." conjures thick riffs and a sedative-laden industrial rhythm.
There is a conceptual weight to IRISIRI that accompanies the expert songcraft and meticulously produced arrangements without ever being burdensome. That the music itself stands on its own is testament to Drewchin's maturity as an artist; the presence of a thematic cohesion demonstrates the seductiveness of her universe. One can get lost inside this album, and it would be blissful. (Pan)