BIRTHH is 19 year-old Alice Bisi from Florence, Italy. ‘Born In The Woods’, her first album, was debuted at SXSW this year.
Oh! Alice, was her first solo project as an intense, emotive teenager with an instinctive folk sensibility.
A stormy adolescence re-shaped her song-writing and she began to experiment and search for something altogether more dynamic.
Writing incessantly and working with harmonisers and Logic Pro 9, BIRTHH began to take shape and eventually grew into Alice’s darker alter-ego: the conscience of a nineteen-year-old who spends most of her time thinking about apocalyptic events. It is a persona who defines herself as the ‘Queen Of Failureland’, a young woman who finds no peace inside her mind: “I thought love was enough / But truth is love is dead”.
‘BORN IN THE WOODS’ isn’t just the voice of this character, it is her body itself: bass-drum kicks simulating frantic heartbeats, lungs breathing convulsively between the lines, guitars spinning vortexes till nausea, and a barely tangible backing vocals intertwine synthetic layers that enshroud and penetrate the veins. And like the music, the lyrics are filled with references that evoke the flash through which BIRTHH speaks:
“I’ll be poison in your blood / And I’ll be darkness in your eyes / And I’ll be propane in your lungs” from ‘Wraith’. ‘Chlorine’ is the synthesis of a poisonous love: “You’re chlorine in my veins / The blood flooding to my brain.” The outcome in all cases is fatal…on ‘Senses’: “…and kill my senses now, I don’t mind / if you want death, darling, death you’ll find”.
The sound of this torment shows great attention to detail and a taste for downtempo-ambient atmospheres. “I wanted the Wurlitzer and most of the guitars to have some kind of lo-fi imprint in order to contrast the sharp and neat sounds of the beats and of the arpeggiatos; the organ and the harmonium have been inserted with pretty much the same purpose. We wanted to add percussion sounds taken from everyday life (snap, claps, water, doors slamming, etc.) and to integrate them into fragmented rhythms that could disorientate the listener. In most of the tracks we did not even use the bass: I liked the idea of being able to make an electronic music record without the aid of this central element: to get that depth we opted for kick-beats with a very low frequency.”
The album was recorded at the end of 2015 in Brescia (Italy), at Red Carpet Studio, by Lorenzo Caperchi and Alessandro Paderno.
‘BORN IN THE WOODS’ unites the sensibility of a folk rooted songwriter, with the refinements of electronic arrangements, but the most striking feature of this album are the vocal harmonies, leading the songs to epic climaxes reminiscent of gospel music, making the intense voice of BIRTHH speak directly to the heart.
All words via Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.