Jessica Risker has just announced the date of her new album. I See You Among The Stars will be released by Western Vinyl on May 4th. The first of the new material made available to us is “Cut My Hair”. The track is accompanied by a cut-and-paste video that the artist assembled, herself.
An artist that can be relied upon to bring surprises doesn’t fail with this lead single. The most recent release from Jessica Risker, Soft Moons: Twenty Lullabies, released in 2016, was a stunning instrumental sequence of music-box oddities that pleasingly spilled out like semi-precious jewels. Now though we’re moved back to the palette of vocal tones experienced on earlier releases. So things are familiar, but not quite the same.
Approaching craft with tangible sense of reverence, Jessica Risker finds something sacred-sounding in the body of her guitar. She explores the stillness of air. She explores the moment between event and perception of event. Light is refracted between elements, gentle surrealism is introduced to the psychedelic-folk progressions. There’s no music-box on this track, but still something chimes beneath the distorted electronic wave that washes in.
Lyrically, the cutting of hair is the mark of an irreversible event. Risker writes lyrics to her personal totems, and in recognizing them she recognizes something universal. The collective unconscious simmers through her verses. Childlike, lines “All the things I want to share, Every time I cut my hair; you didn’t care…” connect the artist to an ownership of the world she wants, not a world that’s in existence. But for all the lamenting, and sentimentalism that would unfold in other tracks of this type, Risker navigates away from the pitfalls to deliver a precise and well-balanced vision of the unusual business of being alive. Jessica Risker is paying attention to the details.
Inner and outer worlds meet in the video too. Strange gravity pulls on everything. The moon is drawn in closer. It’s like Jessica Risker realises the magic that the orb offers, so she drags it in to utilize it’s magic in her spell. The video, which sits perfectly with the song, feels like it deserves to be projected onto the walls of cathedrals or ancient caves where crystals happen. It’s mesmerizing. We can argue that art of this cut-and-paste kind is low budget, the result is something you couldn’t buy.
“Cutting My Hair” underpins the ability of Risker to offer counsel with poetry, strings, and a kind of sepia psychedelia. The song also signals that the promise of I See You Among The Stars is strong. Let’s just sit quietly with the video a bunch of times.
HURRY – LISTEN – JESSICA RISKER