Vestals' 'Holy Origin' Opens Another Dreamy Chapter in a Career of Sonic Exploration

BY Bryon HayesPublished Aug 28, 2020

Los Angeles-based musician and songwriter Lisa McGee has been active in the U.S. West Coast underground for at least a decade. She is half of the evanescent drone duo Higuma alongside Barn Owl's Evan Caminiti, and she has added narcotic vocal effects to outings by Root Strata's Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Canadian sound artist Sarah Davachi.

Her debut solo outing as Vestals, Forever Falling from the Sky, was released by Root Strata in 2012. Eight years later, McGee has reappeared under the Vestals mantle, going it completely alone. She is the sole producer, composer and performer on Holy Origin.

McGee's voice explores mixed emotional modalities on this release. Hushed whispers mingle with tracer-enhanced sibilants and ghostly vowels. Often, multiple layers of utterance waft about. A more forceful, more evocative voice appears through the haze, and it is this persona that reveals the poetry that McGee has crafted.

The vocals, although carrying a heavy atmospheric weight on their own, are accompanied by dreamy guitar constructions that are deftly woven with sheets of synth. Rumbling beneath this is a thick, churning cloud of bass and smatterings of electronic percussion. McGee pulls these elements together into deftly written song forms, such as the dubbed out "Something Human" and the pleasurable groove of "A Permanent Solution".

Lacing ethereal dream pop with shades of opaque experimentalism, McGee has turned in an intrepid and entrancing effort with Holy Origin.
(Dust Editions)

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