Julia Holter – in concert at Route du Rock 2016. Recorded August 16, 2016 by Arte Live.
I’ve heard bits and pieces of music by Julia Holter the past couple of years – but never really got a chance to sit down and listen to what she was doing. Come to find out, Julia Holter is a local (Los Angeles) – and more than that, she went to the same High School I did (Hamilton High in West L.A.) and the same College I spent a brief time in (CalArts). So, not only is she a local, I should be much more aware of her work. And I’ve been having a chance to listen to what she’s been up to, and I’ve become a fan.
She’s taken the model of Baroque-Pop (for want of a better term) and has expanded on it in a way that makes it completely engaging and unique. Nobody else is doing what she’s doing right now, and it’s refreshing to listen to.
Following three independently produced albums – Phaedra Runs to Russia (2007), Cookbook (2008) and Celebration (2010), Holter’s official debut album, Tragedy, was released in August 2011 on Leaving Records. Inspired by Euripides’ Greek play Hippolytus, the album received generally favorable reviews and was named one of NPR’s “Best Outer Sound Albums of 2011”.
Holter released her second album, Ekstasis, in March 2012 on the RVNG Intl. label. The album drew comparisons to works by such artists as Laurie Anderson, Julianna Barwick, Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom, Grouper, and Stereolab, and received many positive reviews. Holter spent three years making the album, whose title comes from the Greek word meaning “outside of oneself.” The music video for album track “Moni Mon Amie”, directed by Yelena Zhelezov, was also released in March.
In addition to collaborating with other California-based musicians like Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez), Holter released her third album, Loud City Song, in August 2013 on Domino Records. Unlike her preceding albums, which were recorded mostly alone in her bedroom, Holter recorded Loud City Song with an ensemble of musicians.
In 2015, Holter released the album Have You in My Wilderness, which became her most successful charting release to date. She also contributed to Ducktails’ fifth studio album, St. Catherine, with her bandmates Chris Votek and Andrew Tholl.
Holter collaborated with Jean-Michel Jarre on a song for the second part of the Electronica double album, released on July 18, 2016.
In November 2016, she curated her own program during the tenth anniversary edition of Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht. This program included performances by Laurel Halo, Josephine Foster, Maya Dunietz, Jessica Moss and other artists.
In September 2017, she performed a world premier of her scoring of the 1928 silent French film The Passion of Joan of Arc on September 29 at the FIGat7th in downtown Los Angeles.
In September 2018, Holter announced her fifth commercially released album, Aviary, and released the lead single “I Shall Love 2”. She followed it with another single, “Words I Heard”, before the album’s release on October 26.
In 2021, Holter was appointed the Johnston-Fix Professor of the Practice in Songwriting; Visiting Assistant Professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
In a word; busy.
In the meantime, dive into her 2016 appearance at Route du Rock in St. Malo, and crank it up.
And if you’d like . . .
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