Black Truffle present In Real Life, the latest in a flurry of releases from Berlin-based guitarist and composer Julia Reidy. Having drawn acclaim for solo performances on 12-string acoustic guitar that bridge microtonality, ‘American primitive’ stylings and classic minimalism, Reidy’s recent releases have utilised an increasingly broad sonic palette, fleshing out guitar-based composition with electronics, field recordings, and – most strikingly – heavily auto-tuned vocals.
On In Real Life, Reidy pushes one step further, crafting an epic LP-length suite that moves from abstracted song to lush electronics and explorations in contemporary musique concrète. Beginning with a passage of eerie electronics and creaking percussive interjections, Reidy’s heavily auto-tuned voice quickly takes centre stage. Surrounded by explosions of electric guitar and synthesised arpeggios, the auto-tuned voice delivers a melancholic ode, bringing together poetic images to reflect on the instability of experience and mutability of identity in a contemporary world saturated by digital technology. This concern with the unsettled relationship between the physical and digital is reflected musically by the constantly shifts in emphasis between Reidy’s physically demanding guitar-picking and the various forms of synthesis deployed.
Similarly, the dynamic imagery of cutting, shattering, and ‘racing streams’ present in Reidy’s lyrics also serves to characterise the structure of In Real Life, which ceaselessly shifts between distinct episodes. The song-based opening, long sequences of frenetic 12-string guitar shadowed and eventually overtaken by synth tones, passages of delicate chiming harmonics, electro-acoustic cut-ups – each flows seamlessly into the next, often recurring throughout the record’s duration, which lingers over interstitial moments between these episodes.