Motte. Photo by David Dunham.
If sunlight reflecting off the ocean was audible, it would be Motte’s new album Cold + Liquid.
Released on Los Angeles-based record label Ba Da Bing! in August, the album listens like a film score. The solo artist Anita Clark encompasses both a focussed detail and awe-inducing vastness.
The album starts like any good movie, with many undefined things the listener can only hope to know more about as it moves along. There are teases of her signature sweeping violin in the first song, and you’re fully immersed in Anita’s ethereal reverb heaven by the second song.
Photo by David Dunham.
The title track 'Cold + Liquid' is a climactic deep sigh, bridging the gap between dreamy ambient and experimental pop, full of shimmering vocals and strings and a grounding analogue bass. 'Gargantuan' is the most incredible song-long electric violin solo- and if you’re like me, the only song-long electric violin solo you’ve ever heard.
Anita presents her violin in many forms from pizzicato playing with extended techniques. Constantly expanding, pleasantly surprising and perfectly placed. Recorded in Thomas Lambert’s home studio in Christchurch back in 2018, piano and guitar both played by Anita also make their way onto the album.
Recordings of bowed crystal glasses, snapping sticks and short-wave radio gingerly come in and out; with even more atmospheric sounds such as the temperature control room of the Oamaru Freezing Works adding further to the album’s cinematic personality.
Outside of Motte, Anita focuses on film soundtracks, recently composing the soundtrack to a full-length nature documentary. Elsewhere she wrote and performed for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and toured her exceptional violin skills with New Zealand names including The Renderers, The Phoenix Foundation, Nadia Reid, and Don McGlashan.
In 2018 a virus paralysed Anita's vocal cords to the point where she could barely speak, let alone sing. She had vocal cord palsy, and her vocal cords were completely frozen and twisted out of shape. As the condition is not always recoverable, the next six months were dedicated to recovery in hopes of getting her voice back. Recovery is dependent on whether the nerves that the nerve endings have regrow - either they die or they recover.
Photo by Ebony Lamb.
While she couldn’t sing, Cold + Liquid was intended to be instrumental. But luckily for her (and us), Anita’s voice returned and made its way onto around half the songs.
And as the apple on the tree ripens, so does Cold and Liquid, now released, ready and ripe for picking to tour the country post-lockdown. Joined by Luke Scott (Admiral Drowsy), Anita will finally fully realise the album in a live setting in five shows across Aotearoa. You can buy tickets here via UTR.
Oct 01 - Unitarian Church, Auckland w/ Kraus
Oct 02 - Never Project Space, Hamilton w/ Halcyon Birds
Oct 06 - The Loons, Lyttelton w/ Roy Montgomery
Oct 07 - Article, Whanganui w/ Ludus
Oct 08 - Vogelmorn Hall, Wellington w/ Ludus
Watch Motte's otherworldly music video for her song 'Plateau' below.