srijeda, 3. travnja 2013.

White Poppy [Crystal Dorval] - I Had a Dream (2012), White Poppy (2013)

Crystal Dorval kao White Poppy radi muziku s potopljenim melodijama za hotel u kojem se prelijepe žene skrivaju od nesnosne propasti morala i ekološke katastrofe. Što se događa u sobama flauerscentnog hotela? Odmor, sanjanje, hipnoza, eskapizam, meditacije, iscjeljenje, inrtrospekcija i rajski život.
Njezin prethodni projekt zvao se My Friend Wallis. Također jako zanimljivo, naročito album On Hawaiian Time

From out of the coastal, cloud-covered conifer forests of Canada’s coolest west coast enclave (Vancouver, BC) comes this blithe slice of exploratory gauze-pop majesty by one-woman guitarist-looper-siren-producer White Poppy (aka Crystal Dorval), I Had A Dream. The moniker conjures her soundworld astutely. The spiraling, sunblind ascent of “Wish & Wonder,” “In The Window”, and “Free” feel like levitating over fields of poppies, opiated pollen glowing gold in the air, while a scrappy, early 4AD/Rough Trade 7” obscurity’s rhythm section rides a lock-groove somewhere down by a glittering stream. Deeper in, “In Over” out-Cocteau Twins the CT’s (in terms of delay pedal sensuality), while “I Had A Dream” and “Treeforts” both percolate and pirouette dizzy blurs of electric guitar, practice-amp bass fuzz, cardboard drums and skywashed vocal mists. A lot of the songs have this beautifully bewitching ‘fantasy band’ vibe that makes the project feel less solitary and 4-track-y than its origins. A mesmerizing debut and hopefully a harbinger of things to come. Black ink on white shells with erotic digital collage artwork by Ms. Poppy herself. Edition of 125. -

White Poppy (2013)

t’s been a while since the guitar has made me feel something. At all. Or really, in this case, I suppose the guitar is just an accompaniment, figures among other figures. White Poppy’s self-titled debut album is a seemingly innocuous rush, a series of series of subliminal momentums rapidly and hazily oscillating between present and future. Each track is a beautiful, fevered kiss and release, wrapping around the listener with each new tonal, melodic entrance. This has all been done before, and it has all been loved before; but oddly, what makes this album so precious is its personality and willingness to throw itself forward.
Hypnagogic, 4AD dream-pop like this has existed in many capacities for decades now, but this release is the first in a long time to grasp so easily the essence of the genre. The guitar is a discretely polite whip, entangling in “Wear Me Away’s” vaporous sighs of vocals. It’s as though her experiences are outliving her, the experience overcoming the self. Out of the mixture of codified forms — the voice, the guitar, the girl-pop generic model — White Poppy (Crystal Dorval) emerges above it all with a sense of purpose. She intends to chronicle those experiential modes, applying them to the speed in which she experiences them — and in this sense, this is very Krautrock, very Faust-esque. Latent melodies and counter-melodies collide with the historicizing feedback loops, employing cascading drones that create a palette we can only describe as yesteryear. In this work, yesteryear, nostalgia as a form, is a model, an illusion, a point of obscuration. Candy-coated vocals fold into nullified versions of themselves; they are only impressions of what used to be and strangely what may still be there.
In my mind, for the guitar, there is no coming back from albums like Loveless and Endless Summer, in which the former pushed the guitar to a physical, existential end — an immutable fuzz — while the latter distilled it down to discrete particulars of its own form — (de)territorialization. White Poppy, in the stylings of Not Not Fun cohorts High Wolf and Pocahaunted, managed to use the pieces as a mechanism or a personal theme. And even still, similar things were alluded to on Julia Holter’s Loud City Song. These artist seem to push the aesthetic experience of instrumentation to extract its meaning, knowing that there is no use for physical binding tools. How do you historicize a relic? You drown it in reverb, and you watch its physical form blur and mesh.
Crystal Dorval has been known to refer to her music as therapeutic pop — pop that doesn’t assault the ears, but pop that soothes it. Looping and layering textures, Crstyal establishes a scene; one could assume it is a pleasant one: running through fields, a setting sun, etc. The scene over the course of each song stretches to the point that it overlaps, and this is where she wants you: at a point where you are reaching for the beginning. When this happens, the music/scene washes over you, and you are entranced and carried into a blissful state.
The perpetuation of nostalgic states is quite different from the masturbation of it: Crystal Dorval wants not to refer to those pleasant states, but to be the pleasant state reborn. And with self-aware tracks (and titles) like “Emotional Intelligence,” Crystal is well on her way, combining lazy drones with sunbathed tones and angular harmonic developments. White Poppy is a peaceful place, not the simulation of it. - 

Crystal Dorval is a Vancouver-based artist and musician. She currently creates music under the moniker White Poppy (previously as My Friend Wallis) and her first LP has been released on Not Not Fun Records.
We’ve reached her for a small talk and you can stream below an exclusive mixtape she made for us.

EC: You are a musician and also create psychedelic art and videos. How can you describe the following empathy between these aspects?
WP: Everything I create has some sort of harmony as a whole. Drawing, painting, writing, making music, creating videos, they all come from the same part of me. I kind of don’t see a separation or line between the different mediums I use to express my creative ideas. I don’t fully understand creativity. It is a mystery to me.

EC: During Christmas frenzy, among tons of tired reinterpretations, I chanced upon “Whiteout”, a real panacea. What about this idea?
WP: I just had to look up that word Panacea. What a great word! With ‘Whiteout’ I basically just wanted to create something that was the opposite of what is expected out of Holiday music. I felt that it was a little bit cheeky. I also intended it to be an album for other people like me, who would rather have a weirder version of something.
EC: Is there any artist, band or musician who incited you to compose music? And, in general, who are your inspirations fathers?
WP: I think my Dad was the first. Growing up he was always playing guitar and I thought it was cool. I wanted to be able to do what he did. In recent years I discovered a variety of music that has inspired me immensely; Krautrock, early electronic music, no-wave, and various world music. I love Delia Derbyshire, and Lou Reed is the ultimate cool guy.

EC: Could you tell us something about your working process? How do you make your music and how is it changed with time (if it has changed)? What are your inspirations?
WP: Yeah, well I finally have a room in my house where I can have all my stuff set up and I can use it at any time. I first started making music with just a guitar and nothing else. I wrote very structured pop songs. Eventually I accumulated more effects pedals, recording devices, keyboards, and a loop pedal. My music making process now is much like making a collage, very layered and trial and error. I just arrange things around until I think they are done. Sometimes it’s hard to know if they are done.
DIY recording inspires me. I believe having limitations is a good thing. I love Ariel Pinks early recordings. I like when you can’t tell what someone has done to make the music you are listening to. Like, ‘wtf is that sound? How did they make that drum beat”. It’s intriguing. I also like the idea of picturing DIY recording artists alone in their bedrooms or studio spaces creating their masterpieces. It’s cute.
EC: Next spring Not Not Fun will be releasing your new LP. Can you reveal in advance something about it? Are you planning an EU tour too?
WP: Yeah I am really excited about it! It will be my first vinyl LP, which is a great personal achievement. Once your music is on vinyl, you become eternal. Something that you’ve created will live on after you. I don’t know what I could possibly reveal that is interesting? Well, the album does contain the meaning of life, and has the answers to all questions. So, there’s that I guess. ;) I hope to go to Europe this year! -

White Poppy - Mirage Man 7” Kingfisher Bluez
White Poppy - Song A Day Green Burrito Records
White Poppy - Last Christmas Self-released


Vancouver, BC's Crystal Dorval (aka White Poppy) released her debut tape on Not Not Fun back in April and its a groovy way to say hello. This intimate collection of soliloquy music -  guitar loops, bliss echo vocals singing half remembered syllables of sleep, and narcotic rhythms - is a rewarding listen from beginning to end. I didn't want to wake up! "Wish and Wonder" is a song that actually causes the listener to get high. Winding tonalities, tempos, and delay pedal wet dreams keep each of the eight tracks interesting, even on back to back plays. There are influences that appear in the music, the 80s-ishness of the Cocteau Twins for instance (the floating vox of Ms. Dorval), but overall this is a "top o' the heap" type album and fans of nocturnal pop will want to own this tape before the day is over. -

The immensely talented Crystal Dorval makes dark 
and dreamy music under White Poppy.

Crystal Dorval is one seriously well-rounded lady. I first did some investigating on the Vancouver-based artist after hearing the haunting yet incredible music of her most recent project, White Poppy, on the blog yvynyl. After doing a little research, I discovered she had also previously made music under the name My Friend Wallis, whose sunny tunes were a constant presence on my playlists during the fall of 2010. I was already impressed that the girl who could make sweet pop music was also creating the strange, almost shoegaze-y sound of White Poppy. Beyond being a versatile musician, Crystal is also an artist and makes beautiful and psychedelic photos and collages that can be viewed here. After writing that paragraph I pose you with this question: why aren't more people paying attention her?

A photo of Crystal.
Although I love all of her work, something about her most recent tape, “I Had a Dream”, which was released on Not Not Fun records, is especially compelling. The tone for the album is set with the opening track, "Wish and Wonder", where her voice seems to float over the hazy layers of drum beat and guitar. The rest of the eight song album blends together in an equally lush and complex fashion. It's apparent on this tape that Crystal has a talent of manipulating sound. On the title track, she drowns out her own vocals to give emphasis to the synths that seem to flow into your ears. On Crystal's website, she describes her sound as, "hypnosis, escapism, meditation, healing, paradise, introspection, brain vacation, dreams", and I couldn't have said it better myself. She excels at creating what could be described as drone music and making it accessible and beautiful. My personal favorite on the tape is "Tree Forts", which is the most danceable of the tracks with its hopping backing beat that makes me think of a late night parties in dark rooms. 

Another one of Crystal’s strongest suits is pairing her music with an aesthetic. The art that fills up the top of her portfolio page is made up of slightly spooky images with rainbow colors splayed over them. The images go hand in hand with the sound she's projecting on the "I Had a Dream" cassette. It's overwhelmingly inspiring to observe the enormity of Crystal's creative output. I'm more than excited to see what she puts out next and hopefully what her live performance is like.
“I Had a Dream” is currently only available by download or by tape, which you can find on White Poppy's bandcamp

Images courtesy of Crystal Dorval. 


Stream: White Poppy’s “Whiteout” Holiday Compilation

21 Dec 2012 — Trey Reis
Christmas music has always been hit or completely miss with me. I love choirs and gospel music, but I hate, say, Wham!'s "Last Christmas" or pretty much any holiday music Harry Connick Jr. has ever recorded. It makes trying to listen to Christmas music on the radio or Pandora rather unbearable. Well, Vancouver, BC’s Crystal Dorval aka White Poppy (of NNF fame) has provided a solution in the form of a 16-track compilation of holiday classics performed by some of the cassette/blog world’s favorite noise and experimental artists including Virgin Blood, Golden Donna, and others. The whole album can be streamed for free below and downloaded for free here. Check it out! I think you’ll be surprised how eerie some of the most joyful songs ever composed can sound. -

Images courtesy of Facebook. 

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