From KCRW DJ Marion Hodges:
Creating an atmosphere of genuine emotion with little to no sentimentality would seem to be an impossible task. Yet this is exactly what the classically trained, Echo Park-based artist Julia Holter has done with her latest album “Ekstasis”.
Venturing into “Ekstasis” is venturing into an icy sonic landscape, but one that is also populated with great warmth. The parts of herself that the artist wants to reveal are done so carefully which goes a long way toward further establishing this appealing contrast between warm and cold. This is not only achieved through incredible lyrical prowess, but also with the musical embellishments used to flesh out this brave new world.
Simple touches like a prolonged synth note, or a dissonant saxophone solo go a long way to keep the listener guessing as to what kind of environment they will find themselves in next.
The lyrics also find the right balance between romanticism and self preservation.
“I can see you, but my eyes are not allowed to cry…” is the predominant line in the song (and centerpiece of the album) “Goddess Eyes”. (Grab a free download of it here)
It’s especially telling in regards to the amount of confessional expression to expect from Ms. Holter, but that’s what makes the emotional impact all the more surprising and satisfying.
— Marion Hodges