Holly Herndon - 'Platform'
The Californian academic's third album wraps protest songs in Knife-like electronic pop
It has become something of a cliché to wonder where all the protest singers are, as if the only way to tackle questions of politics through music is by pulling out an acoustic guitar. Holly Herndon offers something different. An academic studying at Stanford University’s Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, here she tackles some very modern issues – inequality, the surveillance state – not through polemic, but through ideas. ‘Platform’, Herndon’s third album and her first for 4AD, unveils sparkling, electronic pop that twitches like a corrupt video file, her voice fractured into glinting melodies. Unpicking the subtext occasionally involves close attention – when she sings “You know me/Better than I know me” on ‘Home’, she’s referring not to a lover, but the National Security Agency. A good thing, though, as it means that – excepting curious conceptual moments like massage fantasy ‘Lonely At The Top’ – ‘Platform’ can concentrate on being beautiful electronic pop: think The Knife 2.0, perhaps.
Director: Holly Herndon
Record label: 4AD
Release date: 18 May, 2015