Kelly Lee Owens
Kelly Lee Owens
Kelly Lee Owens announces her self-titled debut album, due March 24thvia Smalltown Supersound, and shares lead single, “Anxi” ft. Jenny Hval. It follows the release of her “Oleic” EP, released this past fall. An album that bridges the gaps between cavernous techno, spectral pop, and Krautrock’s mechanical pulse, Kelly Lee Owens brims with exploratory wonder, establishing a personal aesthetic that is as beguiling as it is thrillingly familiar.
Before starting work on the self-produced album, Owens, a 28-year old Londoner, turned her keen ear towards dance music after working in a record store with techno producer Daniel Avery. Her voice and contributions can be heard on Avery’s Drone Logic. Since then, she self-released two white label 12”s, with the “Oleic” EP to follow.
Her debut solo album is first and foremost Owens’ vision, a record that exudes a startling level of intimacy even in its largest-sounding moments – such as “Arthur,” a percolating mixture of looped vocals and rustling rhythms that rides on a perpetual near-crescendo. The song is a tribute to the late iconoclastic musician and kindred spirit Arthur Russell. “He wrote music and stayed true to his vision up until the day he died, ” Owens explains. “He didn’t compromise as an artist, and those are the kind of people I look up to – people who know what they want.” On S/T, Owens translates that self-assertiveness into a record that explores a variety of moods – sadness, anxiety, darkly shaded ecstasy – with a trippy-eyed clarity and confidence that only bodes well for the future.
In addition to Avery, who has a co-write credit on Kelly Lee Owens’ ghostly “Keep Walking,”Jenny Hval also appears on the album’s lead single, “Anxi.” It’s a track that shifts from drifting tones and distant vocals to warm squelches and tunnel-vision club beats. “It has been my most freeing and open collaboration so far, and my first time working with a female,” Owens says of working with Hval. “It was a very powerful experience for me, I felt she brought something strange and quite beautiful.”