So, this is special. Contemporary musician and composer Indira Force, or indi, draws on her diverse travels and experiences for this startling debut. Originally from the rainforests of Titirangi in New Zealand, she is critically acclaimed in her own country and recently won Best Music Video in nearby Sydney. Currently based in Berlin and signed to Japanese label 2670 Records, she has composed music for performance, a collaboration with choreographer Natalie Clark in Singapore, and co-written trip-hop with band Doprah in Christchurch.
Whilst the Bjork comparisons will be inevitable in the breathier vocals and combination of classical composition and experimental electronics, on Precipice, indi has confidently asserted her own individuality. Certainly gentler and airier than Bjork, indi’s music is pliable as willow branches.
Precipice works as an extended piece that touches on a different realm, an almost spiritual one at times. There are Japanese strings and madrigals in gardens of blossom as on ‘Cair Paravel’. The vocals are wordless but the musical narrative tells of trapped maidens in woods and in wooden shoes. The angels sing for salvation from their urban dystopia, voices soaring inside the darkened spire. They return on ‘Woman’, Tanya Donelly-like female warriors, exploring a different consciousness. They march into enlightenment on the brilliant ‘Airportal’, clapping in unison like monks. The sea washes on the shore.
‘Pith’ offers a brief disorientating descent into a place of discord, where squeals and squawks jar like grating steel. Sometimes the music expands sideways. On ‘Tabelands‘, the voice is an instrument itself. indi’s vocal needs no accompaniment: pure, reflective, a little melancholic. When the piano begins, the track becomes cinematic and the landscape opens up. ‘Demeter’ is abrasive as sand, soft as pearls; muted medieval colours and iron-grey industry. But it also moves into more uplifting dance offbeats befitting a Miranda July movie.
The title track is an expert piece of magical realism. ‘Precipice’ isn’t all easy listening and its bravery makes this debut all the more extraordinary. The accompanying award-winning video blends Bladerunner, experimental medical surgery and cryogenics. Musically, indi acts as a kind of conduit for the sacred.
There is something emotionally charged about this album as if it has been created from a very powerful source, urging you to take control of your own thoughts. The final track, ‘Cannibals’, is well-placed for its note of optimism. It is as uplifting as a sharp shaft of sunlight. Ultimately it reminds us that we are surrounded by universal love, even if we struggle to see it sometimes.
Precipice will be released on 7th December 2018 through Flying Nun.