Review Summary: walking around in perfect circles
It takes a special kind of self-indulgence (not the narcissistic kind, mind you, but the kind that’s lived in -- the kind that's blossomed from a complete comfort in the self) to make an album consisting entirely of just patterns; to recognise that the only universality is in ambiguity and abstraction. To Dey (todey), the pursuit of specificity, invariably, only provides comfort for those who have lived a similar version of history, and so she sings over indistinct, synthetic shapes that shift according to the environments they find themselves in. The only truly universal thing, this record seems to say, is the idea that no one lives in absolute certainty, that true peace can only be attained by blocking out the external. We are bound together by an impossible distance.
: companions, connected by the mutual understanding of one another’s preference to block out the shared world in favour of their own.
To interpret what we see only as that of our own making, is to be aware of the total malleability of things. Dey is concerned with how things bleed into each other, how – when we question the objectivity of materials – they start to swirl into a constantly morphing, oscillating reflection of capital-l Life. And that’s what this record is, perhaps: the faded boundary between Dey’s ‘objective’ experience and the form it takes the moment she is made to interpret it. Solipsisters
hopscotches between stark moments of lucidity and surreal landscapes until it becomes an amorphous entity: the juxtaposition of Waves
(which doesn’t feel like a ‘song’, but rather plays out like the ephemeral glimmering of sun spots dancing across just-opened eyes), and Sieve
(which approaches traditional folk/rock before balking at the sight of normalcy) serves to represent this barely-there demarcation. In a similar vein, Uniforming
fittingly amps up the theatricality, trudging forward along a line of steadfast quaver-note strings and puncturing snare hits that reach for some far-off crescendo that never gets any closer. It’s one of those times where Dey creates a facsimile of a shared existence -- one which makes us feel a sense of togetherness. On a record of Rorschach ink blots like Escaping
, it’s important these sequences exist, to remind us that every version of existence is as valid and substantial as the last.
It’s all too easy to feel alienated and alone in the belief that nothing is real except what we think and feel and conjure, but in Solipsisters
, Dey concludes that with this philosophical theory of isolation comes the warmth of imagined spaces, and the decision to pass in and out of adjacent worlds at leisure, and the freedom to manipulate ambiguity to one’s own end. If nothing’s certain, everything can be perceived as a common ground.
So, that voice -- girlish and wistful, manipulated to sound like it’s caught in a bubble, is what welcomes us onto a plane where the corporeal is eschewed; it's delicate timbre reflects how, here, people are just ideas -- outlines happy to both exist and coexist. Pulsing through this record is Dey’s acceptance of her (and everyone else’s) place as a mystical and impossible thing (“I’m a reflection, bouncing off other reflections, again and again…”), and that’s where this music comes from. Solipsisters
is an acceptance of self that leads to an absolute harmony with all things ensnared by the senses, imagined or otherwise.