Release Date: Mar 24, 2017
Record label: Smalltown Supersound
Just a few months after establishing herself as an artist to watch with her vivid Oleic EP, Welsh-born producer Kelly Lee Owens returns with her self-titled debut full-length, the kind of record that turns a relative unknown into a music fan's obsession. Kelly Lee Owens is the work of an absolute natural; these are layered, atmospheric tracks that blend minimal techno, dream-pop, Krautrock and ambient drone into a dazzling, alchemical whole that defies easy categorization. It's Owens' aptitude for arrangement that stands out most starkly here.
By reworking Jenny Hval's 'Kingsize' and lending her voice to Daniel Avery's Drone Logic, Kelly Lee Owens was able to establish her first solid roots in the music-making business. As the final result of this mutual exchange of knowledge, her self-titled debut turns out to be one of the most sensual and honest audio experiences you'll have this year. Settling amongst the London chaos, Kelly was able to secure an internship at XL Recordings and there befriended producers James Greenwood (Ghost Culture) and Daniel Avery, while working at Pure Groove record store.
In electronic music, debut albums are often statements of aesthetic purpose. They are initial arguments in favor of a certain style or technique and pledges of allegiance to this or that subgenre. The debut of Welsh-born musician Kelly Lee Owens feels more personal; not so much a way of saying, "This is what I do," but, "This is who I am." The 28-year-old musician grew up singing in choirs and dabbled in bass and drums.
To ascribe traditionally "feminine" values to work whose essential value has nothing intrinsic to do with the gender of its creator is to encourage it to be judged within a patronisingly separate sphere to the otherwise comparable output of a female artists' male contemporaries. So it is not without trepidation that I admit that I think the one of the principal reasons why I love this, the debut LP by Kelly Lee Owens , is that it is a delicate, gentle album, constructed with a certain attention to detail and lightness of touch which elevates it from run-of-the-mill hook-based techno up to a higher plain entirely. Disclaimers aside, this is an invigorating full-length introduction to a producer with enormous crossover potential.
Kelly Lee Owens had a musical awakening while working at a record shop in London, Pure Groove, where she met Daniel Avery and James Greenwood, AKA Ghost Culture. "I was there just having this pipedream," she recently told The Line Of Best Fit, "working behind the counter, seeing all these people play every day, at lunch, and in the evening at Pure Groove and being inspired by that." She has writing and vocal credits on Avery's 2013 album, Drone Logic, and also contributed to the album Greenwood released two years later. Kelly Lee Owens' first album, which is self-titled, has an ethereal sweetness that was first found on her 2015 EP, Lucid / Arthur.
Summing up Kelly Lee Owens' solo output to date, her self-titled debut full-length mixes a handful of previously released singles with newer tracks, drifting between dream pop, trip-hop, and atmospheric techno. Rarely does any track stick to one style; they'll often start off detached and tentative ….
Ambience is not a quality generally associated with techno. Yet, Welsh producer Kelly Lee Owens has been steadily unearthing the latent warmth of the genre since self-releasing her debut single 'Lucid' in 2015. Combining the atmospherics of hazy synth-lines and subaqueous vocals with a charged rhythmic pulse that readies her tracks for the club, she has carved a unique space for herself in the electronic field, making tracks that are just as at home on the dance floor as well as in your headphones.