Holly Herndon, “Platform”
With rock and roll sputtering along like a Soviet Trabant with two punctured tires, electro-sonic architectrix Holly Herndon has a distinct herald-of-the-future vibe about her. Platform, her second album, uses sound much in the way a conceptual artist uses found materials—to create a kind of fractured theater, a disquietingly convulsive narrative laid out in ten non-linear acts. And as opener “Interference” builds to a frenzy of anxiety and frantically thumping synths, there is a genuine sense of excitement for the possibilities ahead. There’s no shortage of harrowingly unsettling instances here: “Lonely At the Top” lays a psychopathic self-help recitation over eerie white noise; “Dao” will likely send your pet into seizures, as it spasms from one fractured beat and tortured howl to the next. Even prettier moments, like the celestial “An Exit,” are forcefully subjected to her astonishing, hyper-fragmentary deconstructionism. This is actually quite a startling work—a fearless exploration of the very possibilities of auricular pandemonium. Get ready.