It takes a special pop music construct to pique certain interests these days. However, the night of July 15th, 2023, brought a set of unique pop sounds to Toronto, in the form of the Colombian electronic artist, Lucrecia Dalt, currently a resident of Berlin Germany –another NOT DEAD YET gig for the books. While her music would suit any fine theater, it was the darkened space of The Garrison that housed the evening’s proceedings. With support from prolific local industrial dub auteur, Andrew Nolan, and solar system soundstress, Stefana Fratila, the night began with heavy pulsing and electroacoustic tones.
Touring as a two-piece band, Lucrecia Dalt and her percussionist, Alex Rodriguez Lázaro, entered their set with a slow build of ominous synth textures. The odd drum hit triggered glitchy electronic delays that would fade, stop, resonate, and/or feedback at random. Using one of two microphones before her, Lucrecia layered loops of her voice with dreamy vocoders and effects before switching to the other mic to cleanly sing the lyrics of songs largely from her standout 2022 album, ¡Ay!. The performance was marked by her delicate and ethereal vocals, which she claimed were a little rough despite this being one of the first shows of her summer tour. Alex on the unorthodox drumkit, played numerous drums and percussive instruments by hand, by yarn-wound mallets, by mallet handle, and much of the time seemed to be striking them at random, until a crescendo would have him arrive skillfully on time into the groove of the chorus. The drumbeats at these moments, when they aligned, perfectly complemented the pared down trip-hop-noir of Lucrecia’s voice and synths. One highlight began with a casual mention of an encounter she had in Mallorca, Spain. Alex was there. And it was only when she also pointed out the celestial being she met there too, that the audience caught on that this incident being described, was the start of the next piece. The engagement with the creature brought in her a change, and she was able to see… –at this point she relented to Spanish, stating that it was difficult to translate the experience to English on the fly. As the atmospheres developed around her, the story escalated with the haphazard, but as usual, perfectly in sync rhythms. Such was the lovely figure throughout the show: gradual melodic builds, scattered drum hits, and a chorus that fused them together. While Lucrecia’s newer material has proven to be far less experimental than in the past, the refinement of it has not hindered her ability to play with soundscapes in memorable ways.
While less experimental than in the past, Dalt’s progression to her current musical iterations shows an ability to create ever-compelling work in more traditionally pop conventions.