Katie Lass: Hypnopomp LP (green vinyl)

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Katie Lass: Hypnopomp  LP (green vinyl)

Katie Lass: Hypnopomp LP (Happy Happy Birthday To Me/USA)

Release Date Nov 4th, 2022

Genre: Outsider: Detroit illustrator come retro future dreamer, ethereal, experimental indie rock, Neil Young's idea of a Western soundtrack, a continuation of Michigan's feathery shoegazing as captured in Third Man's Southeast of Saturn '90s band comp that includes WIndy & Carl as well as Fuxa, waking lullabies, and hopeful doom.

Mood: The way light dances in an Impressionist painting landscape; seemingly incandescent

They Say:

Katie Lass is strong, strange, and on the taller side of medium height. She probably cuts her own hair, but it looks awesome. Katie Lass will make art whether you look at it or listen to it, or not. Lass lives and works in the general Detroit, Michigan area. She works in a record pressing plant, and once lived in Arizona working for a record plating plant. Like everyone these days, she has good taste. I didn’t ask her any questions about her life, because you’re going to want to do that yourself.

It’s not often that we are presented with original works, which seem to slide in and out of time and to adhere to their own aesthetic rules. This is her first album, Hypnopomp, and it is really great music. Something obviously is different here; after a few listens, the beautiful catchy stuff reveals itself. It’s perhaps like the first time you eat “real” licorice.

When Warren Defever of His Name Is Alive and Third Man Mastering first heard this music, he raved. Warren is a friend and he knew I like Katie’s art work, as I’d run it in my magazine Maggot Brain. He doesn’t rave about much. “This music is wonderful; it’s completely insane,” he said after Katie first gave him her home recordings.

I asked him just now what he meant and what he thinks of it and he said after spending the time doing whatever it is that mastering guys do, and he remarked that he would not be surprised if the thing had originally been recorded on a micro-cassette answering machine recorder. “The levels, the EQ, make no sense, but the minute you spend time with it, it creeps up on you.”

When you write glowingly of this music, please don’t use the term “lo-fi,” and not because it would be dishonoring the memory of my old roommate, WFMU DJ Bill Berger (who claimed to have invented that phrase). Bill’s dead; he’s not going to care. Do not use that term because it’s meaningless as a descriptor and an alleged genre indicator.

Likewise, there might be other ways to talk of dreamy, molten-sounding, guitar-based, mildly experimental, underground pop music than “shoegaze” or “hypnagogic,” but you do you. Please do listen, fall in love, and spread the word! If your job is bumming you out right now, I get it. But you’re so lucky that you get to hear Katie Lass’ first record before anyone else!

Love—Mike McGonigal (Hazel Park, Michigan)

We Say:

I now know what the Jim Jarmusch film Dead Man's score would have sounded like had it been shot in dreamy Technicolor rather than monochrome. Neil Young improvised this film score, and Hypnopomp wanders in a similarly unpredictable fashion. Lass blurs the line between abstracted guitar- driven soundscapes and dependable pop melodies that appear to be casually riding side saddle through shimmering light and splashing through cool streams. Each song is cloud without a firm outline that takes the shape of familiar things, but they quickly morph into something new, Cocteau Twins one moment, then Grouper the next. Rather than hope for the concrete, it is best to just lie back and let this windblown music glide over you at its own mysterious pace.