Bandcamp, niftily, allows artists to choose which genre their work belongs to when uploading. The more conventional the music, the easier this categorisation is to make. But at the shoreline, the fringes of its own body, water becomes frothier; more opaque. Categorisation is considerably more difficult. Genres and styles overlap.
Dip into releases tagged as 'devotional', and an overwhelming majority of the material you will find has been labelled so as either a joke, an unexplored grab at spirituality, or just a fundamental misunderstanding of the word's meaning. Grimes infamously named herself after, and uploaded her early work, under the genre of 'grime' — a decision based on nothing more than the pleasure of the word in her ears and her mouth. 'Devotional' seems to undergo this same treatment fairly often.
ana roxanne's ~~~ is, however, everything it claims to be. It's a series of mysterious, droning compositions that wouldn’t be out of place on a tanpura. Its stark, sincere lyrics, whose ability to hold each song in its own capsule, unmoving in time, seem to conjure the divine from the air around them. roxanne's vocal delivery is beautiful, too. Restrained but raw, and enhanced by its swaddling of obfuscating post-production elements.
This work recalls Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’s powerful late works, but with a pleasing absence, or vaccuum, that Coltrane’s work lacked. The listening experience is not overwhelming, or disorientating. ~~~ is an open door, with space inside it that listeners can walk into, occupy, and fill.
In truth, there is little to say about ~~~ beyond an unreserved recommendation. This is just a perfectly balanced release, brimming with suggestion and delicacy. It's the sort of music which holds breaths, slows hearts, and brushes eyes closed. A promising, wonderful debut, which treats every second of your time like a gift.
~~~ is available for streaming and purchase here.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe