L.A. Unheard: Julia Holter’s experimental ecstasy

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The band: Julia Holter, a CalArts grad who has worked with Angelenos from Nite Jewel to Linda Perhacs.

The sound: Holter makes chamber-pop for the Ableton era, fleshing out lo-fi bedroom recordings with electronic beats and cathedral aspirations. Her sophomore album, “Ekstasis,” is all soft, post-New Age edges, from her distant vocals to the subtle digital handclaps of “In the Same Room.” But under the production gauze lies restless, intricate music that ranges from ambient drift to 4/4 thump. For all its swirling arrangements, Holter’s vocals imbue the album with a pop center: “If you call out, call out, call out, I will follow you,” she coos on “Our Sorrows,” singing with a girlish naiveté that’s more Spector than Eno.

The random: Holter has already been embraced by tastemakers from former experimental music bastion Altered Zones to the guitar-loving traditionalists of National Public Radio, which debuted a stream of “Ekstasis” in its “First Listen” series last Monday.

The details: “Ekstasis” is due March 8 on RVNG Records. She’ll perform in the Origami Vinyl loft on April 7. Listen to ‘Marienbad’ below.



Critic’s notebook: New albums by Nite Jewel and Julia Holter

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--David Greenwald