Don’t call her a folkie, don’t tell her she’s from the past. Jessica Pratt is an LA artist. While her music may conjure the impression of a singer songwriters or odd traveller of freak folk, push these impressions from your head.
Pratt rejects them outright. Like so many other songwriters who give themselves completely to their craft her mindset is in the present, the now and the new. Nick Cave recently noted this may very well be a willful self-deception. Artists dismiss their earlier work and the impossible weight of past not because of their lack of significance but because to refuse that the best is ahead of them is to allow the creative impulse to extinguish. He likened the situation to dancing on water lilies and really that’s Pratt too. Her work is a delicate swirl on top of a history not just her own but that of a thousand others, one which were you to look too deeply into the murky depths of you would surely drown.
So Jessica Pratt wanders. Her music pools into worlds of thought and introspection. Latest release, Quiet Signs is a mood record. On it Pratt treads, searching for unfamiliar beats, often in chorus with herself.
There’s a notion that music like this is somehow cosmic, that it pushes into worlds profound. But Quiet Signs can be decorative just as easily as it can be transcendent, ecstatic as deeply melancholy. It’s a matter of perspective and Pratt is a conjurer of illusion and dreams. Rather than wax confessional, she offers reflections, shadows and flickering thoughts. But if all this offers too much of a threat of this collection of songs being divorced from all meaning there is a common thread. Pulling away as many conceptions as can be hung around this record, there’s still a sensation of isolation which washes from it.
Meet her here, alone and unguarded. Then listen to Quiet Signs despite of or in spite of the past. Listen like it’s happening to you for the first time.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
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