(Song by Dave Kan)This time last week Sonic Masala combined with Bedroom Suck Records to present the first solo show in Brisbane for Ela Stiles (Songs, Bushwalking) - the above photo is from that performance. Stiles has an incredible presence which comes down to her haunting, commanding voice. It filled out the venue (formerly The Healer, currently Electric Playground, soon to be The Brightside) and, although she was accompanied with her guitar for most songs, it was this that marked the performance as something special.
This is ever more evident from the genetics of her debut solo record, out soon on Bedroom Suck. The album is an a cappela tour de force, drawing together her looped voice to become a haunting choral mantra, taking in Eastern stylings and drone aesthetics to form a soundscape of undulating melodicism, the soundtrack of a atmospheric meditation into the Self, channelling the losses of the world. The first half of the record is filled with songs that barely reach one minute in length (in fact only two, 'kumbh Mela' and 'Untitled Man', of the six tracks on the A side reach that milestone); whilst the B side is a ten minute drone transition based solely, again, on Stiles' voice, the sound of howling wind nearby immediately evoking a frozen arctic tundra, lost in the whiteout. It's a bewitching release from a woman who continue to beguile with each successive musical experimentation.
Pre-order Ela Stiles here.