Aldous Harding brings his mystique to the Crystal Ballroom
Aldous Harding has been called cryptic, inaccessible and unclassifiable. She creates music that has been dubbed folk, alternative, gothic folk, and surreal pop. His voice is a shifting tremolo, stretching to a compact mute and returning in a matter of seconds.
Yet one thing about the New Zealand singer-songwriter is indisputable: Since her self-titled debut in 2014, she’s undergone a Bowie-like transformation that she’s taken one step further with her new album, Warm Chris.
Following the successes of 2019 Designate, Warm Chris arrived on 4AD Records in March. Once again, Harding has teamed up with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Parquet Courts and more), continuing a partnership that began with 2017’s Party, which helped Harding launch into a new realm. artistic.
If you go back and listen to Aldous Harding (Lyttelton Records), you’ll hear a completely different version of Harding, whose first name is Hannah Sian Topp. Aldous Harding is a collection of haunting folksongs with pastoral themes (and the occasional singing saw), while Party saw her dive into a distorted croon with songs like ‘Imagining My Man’.
Harding is also known for her trippy music videos like “The Barrel,” which depicts her dancing around the birth itself with signature shoulder shifts and wild eyes. Not only is the imagery cinematic, but it offers a taste of what she brings to her live performances.
When Harding is on stage, she seems possessed. Her eyes look around her as if to say, “Where does that voice come from? She’s a delicious journey, sometimes half-worried as she channels an untamed energy to get the words out.
Harding recently told Pitchfork that much of his writing emerges from an indescribable process. As a rule, she hardly remembers how it happened – why she thought of these words, where she was at the time, how certain thoughts came to her.
Above all else, Harding is a shapeshifter, especially when it comes to songs like “Leathery Whip,” which allows his voice to slip into a goblin tone. Or “Passion Babe,” in which she sings lyrics about an adulterous event while being accompanied by a sexy, perky bassline and jazzy piano.
According to his manager, Harding does not do press tours and rarely speaks with the media. Still, in the Pitchfork interview, she shared how uncomfortable it is to talk about her songwriting process: “It’s like someone who doesn’t like to dance because he doesn’t like not his body. Suddenly, I’m in the middle of the floor, and my hips are working, and I feel really bad. You know?”
Fair enough. We don’t need a peak behind the curtain. Harding defines herself more as a “singing artist” than a musician, but it doesn’t matter what name she goes by. What matters is that his music is enough.
GO: Aldous Harding performs at Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 503-225-0047, crystalballroompdx.com. 8 p.m. on Monday, June 27. $26 to $30. All ages.