Julia Holter
Ekstasis


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
May 26th, 2012 | 24 replies | 3,421 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: sorry

On Julia Holter’s Ekstasis, as John Keats once put in a famous letter, “the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.” Ekstasis is above all a very beautiful record, with Holter’s delicate voice floating in and out of recognizable aural and conscious space, intoning some seriously angelic shit like a mantra. “Boy in the Moon” is seriously lifted up by this--a swirl of guitars, Holter’s double tracked vocals, droning strings--and feels nearly stratospheric in its all-encompassing beauty. It’s up there, above where you, the listener, are; you are content, for eight minutes, to simply reach for it.

Speaking of which, here’s Keats in the same letter: “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason”. This is, structurally, what a track like “Boy in the Moon” feels like: constant progression, in the pursuit of some sort of finality...but what? Holter lingers in those very same uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts that Keats delineates in his letter--and so too does her audience. Can we “understand” Ekstasis? Or is that lack of understanding--that search for understanding--the whole point? Holter very deliberately (or so I must assume) names the gorgeous, labyrinthine opening track “Marienbad” after Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad, an early-’60s art-film masterpiece of repeated visual and aural motifs: people who stand together in the same room, gardens, questions--all of this cycling until it slowly begins to disquiet the soul. This is the same general aesthetic-philosophical vein in which Proust, Borges, Resnais, and, yes, Keats work: what makes “You” up? Can you be yourself and simultaneously not yourself? The house you lived in as a child, the cup of tea you once drank--are these all inextricably part of your being? Have we met before? Is this Ekstasis?

Keats, in 1819, reached a point of self-referential glory with his poem “On the Sonnet,” which laments the way in which the strict sonnet form of poetry constrains the possibility of aesthetic fulfillment--doing this all, naturally, in sonnet form. Ekstasis, being just that, has the ability to step outside itself and look at itself, as a work of art. The way in which “Goddess Eyes II” links itself to “Goddess Eyes I”--and also to Tragedy’s “Goddess Eyes”--is thoroughly and magnificently deliberate. Don’t even get me started on “This is Ekstasis”. (Is it? Or is that just what this dense and beautiful beast of an album is named?) What is this album but “ten signs that read silence”?

John Keats, nearly writing this review for me, ended his indelible “Ode on a Grecian Urn” with these words: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty--that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” Which, yes, is a truth in itself that Holter, with this album--this foster-child of silence and slow time--aspires to affirm. How much do we need to know that we don’t already know? “Moni Mon Amie” will come on soon. Listen, silently, to the overcoming and obliteration of every other consideration. This, surely, is ecstasy--or maybe the simply journey on the way to such an ideal. Stand outside yourself. Reach.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



14991 Comments


sputnik wont let me edit reviews wtf

Tyrael
May 26th 2012



20742 Comments


^ So um Alex

how long have you been gone exactly

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



14991 Comments


"Fatal error: Call to undefined function numcheck() in /var/www/html/sputnik/editreviews.php on line 5"

does aanyone else get this

porch
May 26th 2012



8453 Comments


yeah it's been like that for weeks

Rail
May 26th 2012



489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...I do love a bit of Keats.

Interesting review and great album. Pos.

Digging: Tipper - Forward Escape

plane
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



6085 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

What I like about this review is that you (being Alex, no one else) could probably counter this same review, with the same rating, on why this album works with "all considerations taken."

joshuatree
Emeritus
May 26th 2012



3743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

robertsona is totes in ap lit right now

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



14991 Comments


we actually only studied keats in last year's english class; my school has this weird thing in which every junior year humanities class has to be u.s.-centric for some reason (e.g. apush, only reading american stuff in ap lit)

but: yes

"What I like about this review is that you (being Alex, no one else) could probably counter this same review, with the same rating, on why this album works with "all considerations taken.""

also: yes!

Anthracks
May 26th 2012



3670 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

such a pretentious album

VictorHugo
May 27th 2012



19 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Was waiting for another review. Pos.

I need to pick this up again.

GiaNXGX
January 14th 2013



4867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't liked this much, (sorry[2].) I'll give it another go today and see if I enjoy it a bit.

Havey
January 14th 2013



9618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i love her gian why don't you love her

Digging: Cecil Taylor - Dark to Themselves

AdolfChrist
January 14th 2013



1727 Comments


"such a pretentious album"

"pretentious" and "facetious" seem to be the only two "big" words sputnik users know.

Havey
January 14th 2013



9618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

facetious is hardly a big word

GiaNXGX
January 14th 2013



4867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im still searching for her love havey maybe one day a spark of fire will grow and ill find solace in
the flames of romantic bliss

Havey
January 14th 2013



9618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice i'm crossing my fingers

GiaNXGX
January 17th 2013



4867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

a wayfarer ends his journey now, absolution's collapse, culminations of existence;
Silentium Est Aureum. I love you Havey :3

Motiv3
September 1st 2013



8920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn this woman, so good.

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

Gyromania
September 15th 2013



15202 Comments


wish she had more albums

Motiv3
September 21st 2013



8920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing album, amazing artist.



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