Wednesday, April 2, 2014

12 O'Clock Track: 'Perm Krai,' twitchy Russian-language art-pop from Olga Bell

Posted By on 04.02.14 at 12:00 PM

Olga Bell
  • Noah Kalina
  • Olga Bell
Olga Bell joined Dirty Projectors as a keyboardist and singer in advance of its most recent album, the wonderful 2012 release Swing Lo Magellan, and there's clearly a shared sensibility between that group and her solo work, as her forthcoming album, Krai (due out April 29 from New Amsterdam), evinces. Born in Russia, Bell lived there until she was seven, and she wrote all of the songs on Krai in her native tongue. At times her elaborate overdubbed vocal harmonies (including two electronically manipulated "male" voices that suggest Tuvan throat singing) bring to mind a scaled-down version of the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir, and some of the melodies borrow ideas from Russian folk traditions, while her lyrics reflect on the geographic edges of her homeland, culturally and historically. Her own singing and keyboard playing are deftly supported by kit drumming, cello, electric bass, and electric guitar (played by Grey McMurray of itsnotyouitsme). The music alternates between dense and frenetic, airy and meditative, but the arrangements are never less than rigorous. Today's 12 O'Clock Track is the album's first single, "Perm Krai," the album's most explicitly pop-rock oriented piece. Check it out after the jump.

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