YOHUNA – ” Patientness “

Posted: May 17, 2017 in MUSIC
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Yohuna’s Stunning First Album Is For Anyone Who Hates Labels

This is such wonderful bedroom pop. It makes me think of the Softies, though the sonic palette is quite different. The lyrics get a bit burry in favor of overall tone, but that sound! You could curl up in it and feel like it’s an endless, slightly sad mid-afternoon forever . Swanson makes beautiful, layered music that mostly resists classification: too pop to be electronic, too soft to be rock, too X to be Y, too A to be B — she’s heard it all before. No wonder she felt strange: her music is one of in-betweens.

Take “Lake,” the opening song off Yohuna’s long-time-coming debut LP, Patientness, which is now available on Orchid Tapes (and includes a re-recorded version of beloved, Hunger Games-referencing “Badges” . With a bittersweet cloud of synth and guitar, “Lake” sounds like a summer spent in the shade of a tree, a meditation on a passing moment. The light on the lake/ How it gives and it takes/ Like a summer/ Far away, she sings. It sounds a little electronic, a little rock, and a little pop. But it’s not quite any of those things.

Swanson grew up in the Wisconsin countryside, going to church three times a week. Her town was quiet but her family was musical: her mother, at one point, provided musical therapy as a hospice chaplain, and her father played classical piano. Swanson grew up singing in choirs and acting in musicals , honing an interest in songwriting that would follow her through college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and through her later stints in New Mexico, Berlin, and finally, Brooklyn.

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Swanson first came to New York as part of the live-in residency program at Brooklyn DIY arts space the Silent Barn, but was quickly displaced by a fire last September. “I really don’t know if [Patientness] would have happened if [the fire] hadn’t,” she said. “Things like that just force you to prioritize.” She was the one who discovered the fire, so moving back in was no longer an option – the memory of that day made her physically sick. It was around this time that she began working with Canadian composer Owen Pallett , and recording Patientness — the title a suitable mantra for such personally turbulent times.

The album’s title is reminder of things just over the horizon, and the fleeting nature of what’s happening now. I would like to be hung over/ With the sun streaming over us/ That’s when things are normal, Swanson sings on “World Series.” Hangovers may be unpleasant, but they are also proof that we’re real. That’s where you find Yohuna — not hungover necessarily, but somewhere in the middle — of then and now, of happy and sad….just trying to feel real.

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Written, arranged, and performed by Yohuna.
Yohuna is Johanne Swanson.
Adelyn Strei sang, played guitar, and co-wrote “Golden Foil”.
Felix Walworth played drums.
Emily Sprague played mellotron.
Warren Hildebrand played bass.
Owen Pallett played a lot of things.
Production and engineering on “Creep Date” by Jake Yuhas and Miles Coe.
Produced by Yohuna and Owen Pallett.

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