Tirzah is right here, and yet, she isn't — not quite. Leaning toward us, on the cover art for her debut album, little is clearly defined: hair obscures, head blurs in motion. Just like in her music, Tirzah is unplaceable, yet wholly unmistakeable.
Devotion offers a new airspace of sound. While not dance music as we might think of it, these spacious tracks are built upon the instincts of dance: coming together, turning the individual to the collective, finding release. Their radical simplicity is in shrinking these feelings to a ….
Devotion was made with Tirzah 's long-time collaborator and friend, Mica Levi . Known for her menacing, off-kilter pop with Micachu And The Shapes , and her experimental film scores for films such as "Under The Skin" and "Jackie", Micachu's productions turn down the dial for an album of sincere, patchwork pop - experimental, stripped-back landscapes for Tirzah to wander freely. Tirzah's voice is honest, understated, and in no way perfect, but that is the beauty of it.
Although Tirzah might seem to be a newcomer, she's actually been at this for quite some time. Between 2013 and 2015, she released one EP per year, and her songs occasionally managed to get the attention of certain big-name blogs thanks to her strange, thumping fusion of house staples with pop structures and her leisurely, raspy voice. Devotion, her full-length debut arriving via the storied UK label Domino, only minimally resembles her EP run, though longtime best friend Mica Levy (aka Micachu) remains her co-producer.
The imperfect piece of art has a sway all its own. To some, the blemishes and dimples on a handmade ceramic bowl will always be better than the machine-made replica. The Japanese call this kind of beauty wabi-sabi; some European thinkers refer to such ineffable idiosyncrasy as "aura." But at this point, imperfection has been perfected and mass-produced in the form of distressed jeans, faux-vintage furniture, and certain lo-fi music.
Tirzah's mid-2010s singles and EPs -- "I'm Not Dancing," "No Romance," and "Make It Up" -- proved she was an inventive artist, but they don't prepare listeners for the leap she and longtime collaborator Mica Levi make on Devotion. Those Greco Roman releases were emotionally direct, musically creative, and didn't sound like anyone else. On her first full-length for Domino, Tirzah still doesn't sound like anyone else -- even if if she doesn't sound the way she used to.
Since 2013's I'm Not Dancing, a lo-fi pop EP full of brief and chaotic tracks with addictive hooks, Tirzah Mastin has found a uniquely minimalist, post-grime, pop-infused sound, especially when working together with her frequent collaborator Mica Levi. Though Mastin is the focal point, she admits her relationship with Levi is crucial to the music they make. This dynamic is easily heard through in their work.
Tirzah's name is one we have become familiar with over the years, as her various EP releases have come through Greco-Roman. 'Devotion', however, sees a release through Domino. Although it feels overdue, the album captures and encompasses her distinctive musings of sparse soundscapes, looped break beats and confrontational emotive lyricism that lays all her truths bare.