On her most personal album to date, the UK experimental musician retains her focus on the ambiguities of the processed human voice while bringing traditional instrumentation to the fore.
The musical sensibility that the South London experimental producer Klein has developed over the course of her previous records and assorted performance commissions is unmistakable and evolving. Jagged soundscapes made from loops of melodic fuzz and pop-culture samples harbor memories both personal and cultural. Klein’s own voice floats throughout—sometimes as sung language, sometimes in the form of abstract groans or ululations. Her surfaces are uneven, and there’s a multitude of weird, hyper-specific detail to get lost in; the overall effect, though, feels like searching—for sounds, for workable forms, for lost or hidden selves.
On Lifetime, Klein sprawls more comfortably into sonic space than she has before in her recorded music. Totality becomes a possibility: the approximation of a whole. Lifetime is structured as a series of interlocking cycles, and as it resolves and unfurls, it seems to ask: What does the tension between duration and transformation sound like?
Klein has said this is a deeply personal album, akin to “giving someone your diary.” That doesn’t mean it’s informative in some extractive sense—more that it’s characterized by an abstract sort of openness throughout. Especially on the album’s A-side, she plays with proximity in the way she collages sounds: The opener toys with a wordless sung pop hook, first at the front of the listener’s ear, piled atop ambling distortion, and then, once the instrumental portion of the track has suddenly dropped away, at an echoey distance. A chorus emerges, combining both vantage points to a lightly dissonant effect. If we can access a person through their voice—an idea that is present but certainly not stable in these songs—we contend with her as simultaneously a performer and an intimate. (pitchfork)