After releasing her most recent album, The Horizon Kisses You Til There’s Nothing Left, on Bandcamp earlier this year, the musician Lyndsie Alguire selected one of its tracks to post on her SoundCloud account, a form of cross-promotion between the two platforms.
Titled “Demeter Weeping,” the song is essentially much of the working materials, the techniques and sounds, of the broader album condensed into one beautiful, linear summary statement. It opens with layers of her vocals, all shoegazey lushness, hinting at some sort of meaning, yet mumbled and muffled beyond comprehensibility. In time, the textures move beyond some invisible breaking point, and what had been lush transforms from linen to sandpaper, from lovely to something that pushes past lovely, yet that retains a definite if harsh beauty. Just after the midway point, “Demeter Weeping” goes from hushed to triumphant, a sweeping riff threatening to pierce the haze that has built up thus far.
That’s the moment when Alguire’s ambition becomes clear. What came before would have been pretty unto itself, but Alguire isn’t here just for the sweetness. She’s here to challenge. Listen, for example, to the buzzing of “Dustmote” and the heavily reverberating bass notes of “No Future,” both of which make you wonder if your speaker is wired correctly. Listen to the range of sounds cycling through “Nobody’s,” which summons up a deep mess of broken clouds.
Likewise, there’s more to The Horizon Kisses than “Demeter Weeping,” including introspective keyboard work (“Til There’s Nothing Left”), vaguely medieval chamber settings (“Sacrifices”), dense drones (“Dustmote”), and heavily warped audio that suggests a smaller scale take on Gavin Bryars’ Sinking of the Titanic. She could have played it safe with an album of variations on the first half of “Demeter Weeping,” but there’s no playing it safe here.