Los Angeles-based composer Julia Holter's work displays an aesthete's precision in forming a singular, unique narrative from disparate influences and sound sources. Having grown up in a musical family versed in American folk traditions, Holter studied electronic music at CalArts and moved on to tutoring at the same institution. Her musical career began with contributions to compilations and several small-run releases on labels like Human Ear and NNA tapes, releases that highlighted an emerging ambition but that were still grounded in the 'bedroom pop' roots of friends and collaborators like Nite Jewel. Holter also began playing with outsider folk legend Linda Perhacs at the same time as developing her solo musical language.
Tragedy, Holter's debut album, is a breath-taking, minimalist pop masterpiece that showcases Holter's exploration of different sonic textures and compositional techniques, which she evolves into achingly beautiful pop songs. These songs form a suite based on the ancient greek play 'Hippolytus,' a narrative that reveals itself slowly over the duration of the album but that does not detract from the universal beauty of the compositions. Eroded opera and field samples, sweeping synthesisers and mediative structures frame each song - giving it breathing space and allowing each nuance to fully captivate - while, above all, Holter's effortless, heartfelt voice crystallises each moment perfectly.