EP: Holly Herndon – Chorus

Published Feb. 11, 2014 on The Le Sigh


Let Holly Herndon be your guide through this Internet wasteland.

Holly Herndon wants you to feel uncomfortable. Her debut EP Movement opens with the sound of her breath, which morphs into an inhuman buzz. The record’s backbone is how Herndon manipulates very human sounds into something unsettlingly artificial. On Chorus, her new 12″ released last month on RVNG Intl, Herndon looks to her hard drive for source material. The title track “Chorus” is spliced together from YouTube, Skype and other audio clips as Herndon leaves a trail following her daily Internet habits. As the scattering samples glitch, pop and crash, a pulsing bass enters joined by Herndon’s distant vocals touches to guide you through this techno Internet wasteland. This single pairs well with the digital dystopia Oneohtrix Point Never creates on R Plus Seven, as well as its computer desk spying video. It makes you wonder what you could create from your own browsing history.

With B-side “Solo Voice,” Holly Herndon flips the disjointed layering of “Chorus” and opts for suspenseful minimalism. “Solo Voice” stands to be just as unsettling in its sparseness that struggles to hold on to a phrase as it pulses past. The track peddles from around the bend, only to swoop on by and continue circling. Recorded in one take, the minimal “Solo Voice” serves as a perfect complement to the intricate “Chorus.” Much like Herndon’s composition method (which involves the physical movement of waving induction mics over her laptop to pick up and distort its signal), Chorus sustains the confusion Herndon creates by the blurring distinction between person and PC.

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