Inner Voices



Ada Lea

what we say in private

When her relationsh­ip ended, Ada Lea (Alexandra Levy) wrote in her journal for 180 days as a way to work through her emotions and reconnect with herself. This work became the catalyst for many of the songs on her standout debut, what we say in private. The album is assembled like a collage: guitars roar, and are delicately picked. A warped voice memo is the heart of one song, and a glittery synth line is the heart of another. Gluing the contrastin­g sonic textures together is Lea who, in a hypnotical­ly hushed voice, searches for answers and self-acceptance.

These songs aren’t streamline­d, in part because they developed from Ada Lea’s beautifull­y messy thoughts. She weaves between hazy memories and the sharp sting of anger and love. On standout track “the party,” Levy asks, “was I wrong?” in a soft and low tone, as if scared to hear the answer. But as the album draws to a close, Levy grows more settled. On the quiet folk track “yanking the pearls off around my neck…,” sounds of the city float by as Lea realizes that her journey is coming to an end, and confidentl­y sings, “soon I can be my own girl again.” Ada Lea’s workmanshi­p is striking on what we say in private,

distils to reductioni­sm. His sound is refined and cast into sparse arrangemen­t across seven tracks. “Existing Closer or Deeper in Space” is the perfect introducti­on; rhythms pulse in reverberat­ing, foreboding fashion beneath the dubbed percussive sounds that twinkle and chime. The main theme is a dubbed chord that skitters in time amongst the shuffling matter, but with unexpected clarity. Then, in “Window, Skin and Mirror,” tension gives way to absolution, with the closest we come to danceable rhythms across the album. Calm and assuring, a similar palette of sound is conjured up, but with tonality that elicits an entirely different effect. Across the following tracks, Long accomplish­es a similar feat. “Spatial Ambiguity” is more recessed and distant, while “A Blank Slate” puts the dubbed chords in the spotlight atop of the softly swirling ambience beneath — it can feel a little jarring amidst all of the serenity.

Over the 38 minutes of the album, Earthen Sea makes his most concise artistic statement, containing what as she delicately showcases both the chaos and beauty of change. (Next Door Records)

What drew you to a daily act of writing?

I have been writing every day for a while now. That’s how I process things. I think it’s the most economical way to go through your ideas. I love writing in the morning. There’s a calmness to the morning before the internal chatter begins. It’s always nice to start the day by jotting down all of your ideas before you start judging yourself. If I’m stumped for lyrics, then I’ll definitely look through the book and be inspired by different themes that I’ve written about, or try to find different themes that connect to what I’m experienci­ng.

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone going through a similar journey of self-discovery?

There’s still a beauty to those moments and I miss feeling that. As hard as it may be, if you can enjoy those moments of upheaval, then there’s something beautifull­y sad about it. If you can enjoy being in those moments, you’ll look back with fondness.

Long perceives to be the most essential elements of his sound, and nothing more. That can make this album seem a little surgical compared to Ink and An Act of Love, whose sonic scopes were far more enveloping and encompassi­ng. Grass and Trees is a contemplat­ive tranquil reprieve from the turbulence of modern life. (Kranky) HIP- HOP with “Shotgun,” a Detail-produced track marked by uplifting pianos and a soaring hook. One of his final collaborat­ions with late engineer Seth Firkins, Future’s emotion is palpable, but the hook alone carries little weight in comparison to catalogue staples of soul-baring like “Codeine Crazy” or “Sorry.”

Future was paying homage to the legendary guitarist long before hip-hop’s current fixation with the instrument, though SAVE ME is bookended by a pair of tracks that further that trend. The muddied strings of all-too-brief opener “XanaX Damage” set a scene for Future to detail drug dependence and its emotional effect in rare, raspy fashion. Closer “Love Thy Enemies” features a steady picking pattern guiding Future’s plaintive free verse: “You wasn’t considerat­e to how I was feelin’ / How I’m gon’ explain this to my children?” Moments of experiment­ation show a continued developmen­t of Future’s “Hendrix” alter ego, but there’s something to be said for getting to know him over a longer runtime. (Epic)

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