Album du jour: Holly Herndon, “Platform”


Imagine carrying around a laptop set to record all the sounds you hear in a day, from voices (mostly your own, of course), ambient noises, whether natural or man-made, and even the sounds of the computer itself. Then, imagine that you used these sounds as the raw material for musical composition. What kind of music would you compose?

If you’re Holly Herndon, you compose complex, intricate modern techno, with about as much detail-per-second as the ear can take in and the brain decode. The thirty-something Tennessee native, Mills College MFA and San Francisco-based composer and sound artist possesses a daring imagination and the technical skill to realize what she imagines to the fullest, resulting in furthest thing from the push-button techno that can make the other artists working in the genre sound rather all the same.

But I can’t stress enough that this music is not just for fans of the techno genre, anymore than Bach is just for Baroque lovers or Charlie Parker for jazz buffs. Anyone with a taste for the fanciful and curiosity about today’s finest creative artists needs to hear this music. You owe it both to yourself and to the brilliant contemporary creative artists making some of the most thrilling music of the day. Include Holly Herndon among them. Do read what she has to say about her music — after listening.

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