‘Lifetime’ is the debut album proper by visionary collagist/producer/vocalist Klein, following from 2016’s head-spinning introduction made with ‘Only’. Recorded by Klein over the past 18 months and issued on her own label, inj inc., the album renders her mosaic of ideas taken from Gospel composer James Cleveland to film pioneer Spencer Williams and 18th C. tonalities in dreamlike 3D, and elevates her form of abstract, contemporary spirituality to quietly jaw-slapping degrees.
Where Klein’s earliest album seemingly came out of nowhere and left us grasping for precedents and cues, ‘Lifetime’ is confidently presented as Klein’s master opus and an unambiguous product of both her religious upbringing and current mindstates, making explicit reference to “the King of Gospel Music” composer James Cleveland and the groundbreaking endeavours of American jazz and pop composer, singer and pianist Spencer Williams, whose approaches to music, art and form patently resonate with Klein’s, and have concretely paved the way for her music.
The results, self-described as “giving someone your diary” are perhaps surprisingly shy of Klein’s physical voice. Instead she focusses on the mix of oneiric and hyper-realistic sound-scaping which has long distinguished her music from the crowd, and tends to use the voices of others, from samples to field recordings and a collaboration with conceptual sister Matana Roberts, to express herself literally. And it’s perhaps Matana Roberts’ own music that provides the strongest comparison for ‘Lifetime’, as Matana’s epoch-spanning, travelogue-style ‘Coin Coin’ chapters share much in common with Klein’s deep topographical reading of her own ontology, and the way their shared exploration of lineage has lead their respective musics to similar conclusions.
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