Julia Reidy – Dawning On

Dawning On is Sydney-bred guitarist Julia Reidy’s lyrical foray into a deconstructed Americana. Filtered through a Cubist’s prism, Reidy’s 12 strings are governed by the investigative committee that is her hands—10 digits settling what, when, and how without concession to her forefathers’ conventions. Under Julia’s jurisdiction, all surface specs are suspect. Comprised of three tracks spanning an hour, one could deduce Dawning On to be a long-form drone album. Yet Julia’s vision is far more daring, and, by daylight’s final hour, owes little to folk-roots raised on pastoral bliss, or the ohm-minded drift of cosmic meditators.

Prowling fret board and sound hole, Julia shows little interest in establishing a groove. Many of Julia’s albums utilize extra-musical techniques—contact mics applied to the guitar’s body, or found objects fastened to its strings. Despite her youth, Julia’s work is haunted by old souls: John Fahey’s genre-defying expansiveness; Jandek’s bleary-eyed atmospherics; and Derek Bailey’s piss and vinegar vim and vigor. Born in 1993, Julia can already boast of a portfolio including performances with veterans such as Jon Rose and Tony Buck.

As a Zoom-recorded solo album, Spaces Between contains some of her gentlest moments—acoustic watercolors trembling with melodies like whispers muttered to one’s self past delirious midnight. Double Course, a collaborative album with avant-garde violinist Jon Rose, meanwhile, features more pyrotechnics than a county parade’s fireworks show—flushed with loud, burning tantrums meant to violate ears and expectations. All is Ablaze, a predecessor in chronology and spirit to Dawning On, pries apart sonic fissures which shock and shimmer in odd intervals, creating illusions of ghostly apparitions prowling in arpeggiated clusters.

Although Julia has unplugged from the amplifier for Dawning On, she spins dense webs from acoustic guitars. Her steely strings capture, fracture, and reflect light in angular slivers, baffling with sharp micro textures. Whether hell-bent or heaven-sent, Julia never lifts sound from mankind’s uncertainty, but from something far more heroic: nature’s asymmetry.

Dawning On is a barbed fortress replete with perils of primeval persuasion. Armed with trap doors, wire-triggered arrows, and winding labyrinths, it’s doubtful a property-casualty plan could insure Julia’s music. With mote-filled atmospheres reminiscent of Baroque architecture, Julia’s tense spaces share the same spatially aware concept which gives the church of Saint’Agnese its transitional quality. While Julia remains as busy as her work is tireless—the Sydney ex-pat recently relocated to Berlin—her creative wanderings require no passport. Thankfully, there is no border guard for the human spirit.

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