Release Date: Sep 4, 2012
Record label: Not Not Fun
Genre(s): Electronic, Alternative/Indie Rock
What does a mad girl’s love song sound like? Or rather — in a post-Enlightenment culture that both idealizes and pathologizes the concept of madness — what does a representation of a mad girl’s love song sound like? If we take the song of that title as representative of Maria Minerva’s new LP, Will Happiness Find Me?, we might think of a number of concepts that have been fashionable for some time now and that culture is far from through with: fractures, hybrids, plurivocality. For me to say that these are apt descriptives of WHFM? is to admit that, at first, the album left me a little lonely for the more immediately overt pop qualities previously characteristic of Minerva’s oeuvre. But it isn’t by any means a “difficult” piece; rather, frames of pop songs appear and disappear, complete or partial, alongside moments of ambience and intra-track evolution, a paradoxically contemporaneous palimpsest.
Maria MinervaWill Happiness Find Me[Monotreme; 2012]By Josh Becker; September 20, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGSo I'm listening to DeepChord — old DeepChord, which does not sound terribly different from new DeepChord--and it's got me wondering at what point focusing on a certain aesthetic runs the risk of turning into relying on that aesthetic. Is it when that aesthetic's "cultural moment" has passed but an artist's vision has not? Is it during a lull in an artist's output, during which we might reexamine their earlier material and see that, hey, maybe there hasn't been much stylistic evolution happening here at all? And why do some artists (such as DeepChord) seem to "get away with" a seeming repetition of a singular style, whereas other artists get branded a "one-trick pony" for doing the same thing? Perhaps this isn't quite a fair question, given the limitations inherent to the "dub techno" genre. So let's think outside that box for a second.
Glossolalia is meaningless speech, disparate syllables linked indiscriminately. It is a much-debated topic theologically: is glossolalia a manifestation of an unknowable, divine presence? Or is what's more commonly known as "speaking in tongues" just plain babble? Maria Minerva is writing her dissertation on glossolalia and vocal music, and the Estonian-born producer's new album, Will Happiness Find Me?, expands on her fascinations with that hazy space between ecstasy and confusion. On prior releases for Not Not Fun and 100% Silk, Minerva exploited this moody flexibility—for every sonic signpost towards the dance floor, there were hallucinatory feints that made you feel like you were doggy-paddling through a swimming pool full of Vaseline.
"I don't want my voice to be heard," experimental pop enchantress Maria Minerva sings early on her second full-length album, Will Happiness Find Me?. The irony here is that this is perhaps the first Minerva record where you can understand everything she's singing. Her aesthetic is aqueous, intimate, and intentionally murky; her songs sound like an after-after-hours DJ set at a disco that happens to be inside a seldom-cleaned aquarium.
The new LP from bright and bookish producer Maria Minerva (AKA Maria Juur), Will Happiness Find Me? is a surprising mosaic of deeply pained electronics paired with intense techniques, and a pop sensibility. This bleary emotional intersection transforms this would-be satellite singer into a haunted siren from Mars. Maria Juur’s experimental spirit enlivens the EDM realm.
As with early recordings by Ariel Pink, listening to Maria Minerva's releases, starting with her Talinn at Dawn cassette through to last year's Cabaret Cixous, is like hearing someone unpack a warped, yet compelling record collection. On her newest, Minerva (née Juur) takes a few steps closer to the blurry line that separates quirky, home-taped experiments and straight-up club cuts. "Fire," featuring guest vocals by rapper Chase Royal, has the clean lines, bass creep and electronic snap of Mezzanine-era Massive Attack.