Early morning walk in Central London. The sun is trying to wake itself up through the thick mist that lingers over the brutalist architecture of the grey, ugly streets. I feel disoriented, light-headed. I take my headphones out, and press play on Tirzah’s Colourgrade.
Subtle, synth-led melodies are looped throughout this vast, atmospheric soundscape that echoes through the headphones, and as I walk around the quiet and dim streets of London, I feel this skeletal loneliness loom over me. The roads are devoid of people and life. The occasional car would race past, but the eerie quietness and dampness around me is striking. Looped sonic arrangements including thick synth leads and sombre vocals dominate the overall soundscape and claustrophobia of her music. More melodic moments like “Hive Mind” featuring Coby Sey is a true highlight on the album, as their vocals are complemented by sonic effects and beat arrangements that are incredibly potent throughout. As I continue walking through this soulless concrete jungle, I feel myself distancing myself from the colour and light of the green, life-filled spaces of the surrounding areas. Despite all this, the sun keeps permeating through the thick clouds, and as the mist slowly weakens and settles down, I can start seeing the landscape and beauty around me more clearly. When you peel the layers off around you, and you start seeing and feeling the true soul and aura of the space you find yourself in. Tirzah’s ability to do that through music, to create distinct compositions that can be stripped down sonically into melodies, grooves, or just snippets of sound, beautifully composed into lavish instrumentals and chilling vocal performances that are subtle and emotive by nature.
It’s a striking and necessary body of work, brought together by subtle melodies, emotive vocals and experimental moments that capture the moodiness and gloominess of London life and the emotional weight of Tirzah’s own lived experiences.