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Camilla Sparksss — Brutal
(Bandcamp On the Camper OR035, 2019, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-09-07

Brutal Cover art When this album appeared in my inbox, I’d never heard of the artist, and I couldn’t help but pronounce the name as “Sparkses” like Gollum says “pocketses” in The Hobbit. But joking aside, Camilla Sparksss is the stage name of Barbara Lehnhoff, a Canadian artist with a Swiss background. I am not familiar with her work in the band Peter Pixel, so Brutal is all I have to go on short of getting lost in a Youtube rabbit hole. Brutal presents nine tracks of what might be called highly warped electronic pop. Her often breathy vocals are paired with all manner of strange and mangled sounds, sometimes apparently sourced from guitars or drums, but more often sounding like analog synthesizers. These tracks might drift aimlessly for a bit, then develop a beat, though it’s often far removed from dancefloor-oriented steadiness. Percussion, like the dhol-backed beat of “Are You OK?” or the funky kit of “She’s a Dream,” is applied at times, most likely sampled — but who can tell these days? The bottom line is that Brutal is a constantly shifting electronic journey that touches on elements of industrial music as well as hints of Sonic Youth style noise-rock. Lehnhoff and producer Aris Bassetti, her bandmate from Peter Pixel, are credited with all the sounds heard, and they’ve come up with a creative and flavorful stew.

Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Camilla Sparksss

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