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Julia Holter x gorilla vs. bear takeover: DINA MACCABEE

photo: karen doolittle
photo: karen doolittle

I only started playing with Dina in 2015, but now I can’t imagine not playing alongside her layers of viola and sound processing/electronics whose magical richness have brought both a new warmth and surreality to my music, and also singing onstage finally with someone else who sings in a similar range (and beyond) to me feels amazing. Her music as a composer/songwriter is complex and carefully crafted and arranged with the experience of a classically-trained string player and composer, but seems informed by traditions like fiddling and folk melodies, as well as minimalist realms. Her wide range in that way means it seems like she can do almost anything, which is probably true, but her melodic lines are united in that they usually seem to me very poetic and honest/unaffected. She’s great to work with because, even when playing others’ music and not just her own, she always has an impulse to experiment with something new or challenge herself, which leads to interesting questions being asked, even of me, whether I’m always able to answer them or not.. Her sensitivity and agility in playing are found especially in songs like “Words I Heard” and “Colligere”, where she beautifully overdubbed tons of kind of awkward, leap-y lines I’d written for violin. And her wild yet intricate viola plucks and lines in the beginning and end freer sections of “Underneath the Moon” stand out and you can hear her strong ear for phrasing and timbral contrast. The extremely high voice ahh-ing at the end of “Whether” is Dina’s haaa, her singing is so effortless-sounding and strong. Here is her masterful solo viola, electronics and voice record The World is in the Work. — Julia Holter

And here is one of the songs from it:



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