On Friday the 5th of March, object blue premiered her collaborative audiovisual EP Grotto on TT label. Created alongside her wife and creative partner Natalia Podgórska, Grotto is a visual and sonic exploration of the inherently dramatic: of plays and their internal conflicts, hamartias and the love-ties between ill-fated characters. The 5-track EP follows the five act structure of plays borrowed from Ancient Greece, which have played a large role in our understanding of dramatic art, and, at large, human behaviour. The EP title itself is a reference to this intermingling between the modern and ancient, the historic and prehistoric. Notably, the ode to small caves becomes a metaphor alluded to throughout the EP, giving space from medieval and imaginary characters and spaces to interact, derived from object blue's own personal experiences. Needless to say, despite it only being March, this melodically and conceptually rich EP is sure to be a contender for the most exciting release of the year.
"Opened Close" is the introductory track, a miasma of multi-coloured synth lines that interact in a chaotic frenzy of theatrical harmony. Aptly noted in accordance with the five act structure, "Opened Close" is a powerful and ecstatic introduction to the rest of the EP. object blue introduces us to the structure, "Grotto is a stage. It's not a soundtrack to an existing play... whilst creating it, I was thinking about the spaces we move in, the characters we play, the dialogues that can happen". Keenly, "Fugitive's Flourish" introduces more sinister characters as the EP moves forward on the same (albeit nonlinear) path, ripe with percussive high-end punchy synth-lines and deep roars fro the warped bassline. When the forceful kick drum makes its timely debut, we feel the intensity of the rising action, of a climax about to be hit. Sonically it largely reminds us of object blue's previous creative output, such as the experimental hard-driven beats of her collaborative EP with TSVI Hyperaesthesia.
If the action occurs amongst the damp, wet walls of a grotto, "Exorcism of a self-help book" is the climax where filters of light can finally be seen from above, amongst the goo and moss. Stylistically, this turning point turns the EP on its head as it traverses darker, unknowing terrain, pushed forward by syncopated drum programming and shivering percussive elements. "Procession of Healers" becomes the falling action: crystallised synth-pads beseeching coming to terms with the chaos and drama that has ensued, turning it into productive rejuvenation. object blue makes an apt comparison: "Grotto is a bit like if King Lear had been a millennial soap opera with a happy ending: it's me sublimating my difficult relationship home. I could only envision 'Procession of Healers' because I survived this weird drama and I can look at it from a distance, as I am happy now".
The personal emotion behind the EP is felt in full force, despite it's creative amalgamation with the medieval, fantastical and imaginary. The final track "Closed Open" is an excellent example of the brute emotion imbued within the EP, a vocal-chop driven number that provides a sense of comfort, relief and resolution. It's looking back on the acts gone by from a distanced perspective and appreciating their worth and value. object blue reinforces the importance of distance when understanding familial connections, "I come to this theme time and time again" she notes, "but especially now because we've all been quarantined in our homes, and we've experienced the erosion of spatial boundary in our lives".
It'd be admiss to discuss this fantastic EP without equally admiring it's dual part: a video from Podgórska. Speaking on the video, Podgórska remarks, "The video is half inspired by object blue's interest in medieval art and theatre, half inspired by imaginary friends/characters we make up to cope with our home situation (which is what Grotto is about). I made them take the form of fairytale creatures and circus creatures that are morally ambiguous - they're there to observe your struggle and serve as a proxy of your emotions. You're not supposed to be scared of them, but they're not there to help you in your fight."
Over the past few years, object blue has become one of electronic music's crucial new artists. With an astounding audiovisual EP Grotto, we're certain that that title is not going to change anytime soon.