With each passing release – from 2021’s ‘Colourgrade’ to her ongoing work with Dean Blunt – Tirzah has established her sound as a moving target, meticulously planning her next steps.
Reaching a decade since her debut EP ‘I’m Not Dancing’, the South London creative continues to deconstruct aspects of R&B and electronic music, assembling them into something entirely unique and mesmerising. Latest body of work ‘trip9love…???’ marks yet another turning point, a project that explores the dynamics between grandeur and minimalism.
‘trip9love…???’ invites long-term collaborator Mica Levi once more, illustrating the pair’s time spent together across a year, recording between each other’s homes. The result is a mood-focussed collection of tracks that urge to be listened to all as one, differentiating themselves through the subtleties of atmosphere, melodies and vocal performance. Off-kilter piano loops and trap-tinged drum patterns form the building blocks of ‘trip9love…???’, developing a sound that feels equally warped and disorientating, yet intimate and delicate in its approach. Although sonically new, it’s a balance that Tirzah has masterfully executed across her three, full-length albums thus far.
Take the project’s opening track ‘F22’, a charged introduction that cuts through with its distorted, mechanical aesthetic, contrasting against Tirzah’s stylized, warbling tones. Followed by ‘Promises’, the artist plays with her words, meandering between rhymes and structure as she reprises: ‘promises, promises, deals, deals’. The hard-hitting quality of ‘u all the time’ makes for a highlight across the record, revealing a new facet of the artist who directly searches for answers: “let’s keep it real – how do you feel?”
Yet, there are also moments that strip back ‘trip9love…???’, opting for a more familiar, spacious backdrop. ‘their Love’ is particularly striking, the first half a very personal, freeing vocal performance from Tirzah, who increasingly fills the room with echoing, glacial effects. ‘6 Phrazes’ is similarly stark in its delivery, a brief track that carries a more haunting, cautionary spirit as the project draws to a close. Concluding with ‘nightmare’, Tirzah spills her vocals over jagged, blown-out guitars, stretching and harmonising each note further into a sense of peace.
At first listen, ‘trip9love…???’ may seemingly teeter too close to the edge of repetition, however, it is within the intricacies of Tirzah and Levi’s union that the record truly gleams. It’s a project that requires time to sit and grow with its listener, carving a new path after each and every run.
Words: Ana Lamond