Questionable is the notion of trip-hop’s existence in the 2010s, but a listen to Lucrecia Dalt’s sophomore album Commotus just prior to the writing of this article couldn’t help but inspire a mild reminiscence of the genre’s heyday around the early-to-mid-90s. To be sure, as my colleague Birkut points out in his review of the album, the influences are numerous, and the Badalamenti qualities ever-present, but I personally hear a soulful fragility that otherwise came to define that particular genre, until people brought in associations with Björk and DJ Shadow that made me ultimately go “WTF” at the genre’s mutating definition. Still, right away with the opener “Saltación,” I’m reminded that emotional vulnerability and coolness can often go hand in hand. In fact, you’re probably less cool if you don’t cry about things, I’ve just now decided.
Commotus brought a personal excitement, because while it was or is certainly a worthwhile listen, full potential didn’t feel like it had yet been met. For that, we can possibly look to Dalt’s next LP Syzygy, out October 15 via Human Ear Music. Filmic influences and a general depth of thought were made clear, among other sources, in a personal introduction to an exclusive Choco mix for TMT, and so continues the method. “Swirling complex themes,” as a press release puts it, see their origins in texts by Walter Benjamin and Italo Calvino, and in films by Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman. Muted emotion would appear to be the feature here, however.