mon 19/08/2019

CD: Jessica Sligter - Polycrisis: yes! | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jessica Sligter - Polycrisis: yes!

CD: Jessica Sligter - Polycrisis: yes!

Disquieting commentary on Europe’s downward spiral

Jessica Sligter's 'Polycrisis: yes!': a prescient work of sound art

The voice of Jean-Claude Juncker does not habitually turn up on albums. Jessica Sligter's Polycrisis: yes! though features extracts from a 2010 speech by he, the President of the European Commission on “The Dream has Died” and “The State of the Union”. Furthermore, his concept of a European Solidarity Corps which tasks young volunteers with working in crises – such as the refugee crisis – gives its title to “Solidarity Corps (1)” and “Solidarity Corps (2)”, the latter of which features repetition of the single world “Solidarity.”

Juncker is not the only name conjured on Polycrisis: yes! Elsewhere, Federica Bueti, the writer and editor of the Journal for Contemporary Culture, Art and Politics, and Oxana Timofeeva, the professor, philosopher and author of The History of Animals: A Philosophy, are referenced. Less specifically, the album’s inside cover image is of a solid black circle obscuring most of what appears to be a mid-ocean vessel such as that used by refugees. “The Endless End” and “The Dream Has Died” have titles telegraphing Sligter's concerns. The final track draws a link between the word collapse and together, and seems to say we are all in this downward spiral together.

With what inspires it, it's unsurprising that for the third album issued under her own name Sligter has eschewed quotidian musical settings. Polycrisis: yes! employs shifting textures, washes of sound and bursts of rhythmic accompaniment placing it in a sonic landscape akin to the last couple of Scott Walker albums and the impressionistic, speech-driven elements of Jenny Hval’s more recent releases. Sligter's voice shares a Brecht & Weill-simpatico intonation with Walker’s. Unlike her last album, 2016’s A Sense Of Growth, there are no songs as such: a choice intensifying an overall sense of foreboding.

Although Dutch born, Sligter is a long-term resident of Norway and has the perspective of a European internationalist. And with this, she has made a disquieting, prescient work of sound art which does not explicitly offer solutions to what it identifies. Perhaps, after further reflection, she will follow it up with a correspondingly arresting manifesto for change.

Jessica Sligter is a long-term resident of Norway and has the perspective of a European internationalist

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