Julia Holter: lucidity by the shore

Since I branded my qual consultancy Shore in 2010 – the ‘shore’ idea being qual research as a liminal, in-between place between communicators and the public – I find myself regularly awash with cultural references to shore-related stuff. I think it’s like when you buy a new Toyota Avensis and suddenly start noticing how many other Toyota Avensises there are out there. I don’t have one, it’s just a simile. Anyway, sometimes I feel the urge to decorate my Shore blog with a particularly enjoyable addition to the coastal cultural treasure chest. So, here is the video is for a nice Julia Holter track from last year, Sea Calls Me Home.

Losing My Edge. The heartbreaking thing listening to that brilliant and genuinely funny LCD Soundsystem track is: AT LEAST HE USED TO HAVE SOME EDGE
Losing My Edge. The heartbreaking thing listening to that genuinely funny LCD Soundsystem track is: AT LEAST JAMES MURPHY USED TO HAVE SOME EDGE. But hey, edge is overrated anyway. The Middlemass is where it’s at.

The album it’s from, “Have You In My Wilderness”, has been a grower in our house in recent months. I usually run about 5-7 years behind even the mainstream music industry these days, let alone the more interesting stuff. I used to be a reliable 2-3 years behind, but I’ve lost a yard of pace after a series of injuries. So only being a few months behind on this one makes me feel like Brendan Foster challenging for Olympic silver (never gold; not Brendan).

In the marathon of musical life, my old mate Paul Margree is a kind of front-running guardian angel. His excellent new music blog is We Need No Swords. Despite being near the front, Paul regularly scrapes me up gasping from the tarmac as I get trampled by hundreds of luminescent pairs of New Balance, administers a pouch of PowerGel and whisks me up to the top of the field, just behind the four Kenyans and the emaciated Sale Harrier who’s gone too soon. It’s in such moments I “discover” new favourite artists.

Clifton: brutally competitive as a runner and a trombonist
Clifton: brutally competitive as a runner and a trombonist

My utter lack of cardio-vascular fitness soon sends me plummeting down through the field once more, to be elbowed to the ground and vomited over by Bernie Clifton in an ostrich costume.

Julia Holter’s back catalogue is more ‘avant garde’ than you would guess from “Have You In My Wilderness” – here’s a really nice Pete Paphides review of the album for the Grauniadhttp://www.theguardian.com/music/julia-holter which may also serve as a gateway into her stuff.

Holter ends the song:

I hear small words from the shore
No recognized pattern

I’m sure I overheard one of my clients saying that …

Published by Simon Riley

Qualitative researcher in the UK. I listen to people from all walks of life and think about what it all means. I work for leading brands, media companies and government.

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