Dear Laika Announces ‘Pluperfect Mind’ out 10/29 🕊

Dear Laika (the 23-year-old UK-based musician Isabelle “Izzy” Thorn) today announced her new album and label debut, Pluperfect Mind, will be released October 29, 2021 via NNA Tapes and Memorials of Distinction. Pluperfect Mind is an extraordinary creation—a beautiful and singular oddity which exists in the liminal space between dreamworlds and a blurry, watercoloured version of reality. It is a reflection on the past few years of Izzy’s life, during which she sought solitude in the North Wessex Downs while beginning her gender transition.

Alongside the announcement, Dear Laika has shared the emotional zenith of the album, “Black Moon, Lilith”, a song about desire, its reckoning and its actualization from a trans lesbian perspective. “There’s a common experience among gay people of seeing someone of the same gender and questioning if you’re attracted to them or if you want to look like them. This is a psychological and emotional quandary that must be resolved,” says Izzy. Utilizing angelic vocal harmonies, slowly blossoming piano and the distinctive warmth of the Roland Juno 106s, Dear Laika poetically expresses the over-thinking and over-feeling associated with this phenomenon in an otherworldly art pop gem evocative of Kate Bush.

A consistent theme of Pluperfect Mind is isolation, both from other people and from parts of herself, and the intention to overcome anxieties and reconnect. Pluperfect Mind also chronicles aspects of Izzy’s own transgender experience, from the painful tedium of waiting for hormone treatment, to the elation of finally inhabiting a body that feels right. It captures the sense of being cast adrift between an uncomfortable past and an uncertain future, living outside of heteronormativity and caught in “queer time”. Izzy’s mercurial songwriting aims to suspend the perception of time, allowing the listener to inhabit an immersive half-lit world of mystical landscapes, volatile atmospheres and shifting rhythms.

Having grown up singing in church choirs and listening to classical music, those influences can still be heard in Izzy’s music now. Although she rarely listens to classical music nowadays, the rich harmonies of composers such as Messiaen, Finzi and Ravel have left an indelible mark on her own writing, and she freely mutates samples of Bach and Beethoven beyond recognition. During her transition, making the shift from baritone to alto, she was captivated and inspired by the expressive intensity of Vashti Bunyan, Kristin Hayter and FKA twigs; her own clear, keening vocals soar throughout Pluperfect Mind, breathy and otherworldly. She whispers French poetry and lilts over lines about warped memories, exploring her inner world with gentle ruminations on love, hormone therapy and dreams.

Pluperfect Mind is a beguiling collection of vivid lyrics and celestial song, built around piano (sometimes prepared with screws), strings, choirs and synths, and bound together with digital glitch and field recordings. Comparisons can be made to Björk, Tim Hecker or Bat For Lashes, but ultimately, Dear Laika’s exploration of the experimental and the mystical builds something intricate and intimate that is truly original and bewitching.

Pluperfect Mind is out October 29, 2021 via Memorials of Distinction (UK) & NNA Tapes (ROW). Read the full bio and preorder the album on digital / cassette / vinyl here.

New Signing: Dear Laika • Spellbinding New Single “Phlebotomy” out now 💜

Dear Laika—the 23-year-old UK-based musician Isabelle “Izzy” Thorn—today announced signing with NNA Tapes in partnership with Memorials of Distinction in the UK. Alongside the announcement, Dear Laika shared “Phlebotomy”, a spellbinding Bach invocation about “queer time” in the context of medical transition.

“Every six months I get a blood test to check my hormone levels, requiring three vials of blood to be drawn. Most recently, I fainted for the first time in my life,” says Thorn. “Transitioning is a constant process and it takes a long time, made longer in the UK by dangerously long waiting lists. Trans people often find their lives temporarily put on hold while they wait to finally become happy with their bodies. It can be a painful, lonely experience. I’ve spent most of the past 5 years waiting. I’m still waiting. And so I have begun to process time in a different way, as if it is simultaneously standing still and stolen away from me.”

This theme is reflected by the time-stretched choir sample that forms the foundation of the song; its sound is alien, at once syrupy and vaporous, creating an intoxicating sense of melancholy calm. Dear Laika’s clear, keening vocals soar above the choral texture, accompanied by a synth bass resounding like a distant cathedral organ.

Despite full immersion in the “classical” tradition from a young age, singing and playing piano and violin prodigiously, Dear Laika at once embraces and rejects these roots in pursuit of sonic invention and beauty, electronically warping classical instrumentation and conjuring ghostly choirs in the service of non-traditional structures and sound-worlds. Through invocations of mythology, mysticism and the natural world, Dear Laika explores dreams, time, love, loneliness, and being transgender through the lens of (admittedly limited) personal experience. Two albums of this pop music exist so far: Vision of St. Cross (2017) and Rinzen (2018). There exist four other ambient/noise albums for electric guitar and violin: Twin Mythemes (2018), White Leopards (2018), Dewy Reds, Fatal Jaws (2018), and A Panther to Ephraim (2019). This discography was selected in August 2018 to be preserved in the British Library Sound Archive. Dear Laika has played live, sharing bills with artists such as Matana RobertsLoraine James, Mermaid Chunky, Mich Cota, and caroline; Dear Laika has also played violin as part of caroline in live performances.

Announced Shows Supporting caroline
October 8 @ White Hotel, Manchester
October 10 @ Future Yard, Birkenhead
October 13 @ Fusion Arts, Oxford
October 14 @ Jam Jar, Bristol

Dear Laika

Dear Laika is 23-year-old UK-based musician Isabelle “Izzy” Thorn living in relative seclusion in North Wessex Downs. Despite full immersion in the “classical” tradition from a young age, singing and playing piano and violin prodigiously, Dear Laika at once embraces and rejects these roots in pursuit of sonic invention and beauty, electronically warping classical instrumentation and conjuring ghostly choirs in the service of non-traditional structures and sound-worlds. Through invocations of mythology, mysticism and the natural world, Dear Laika explores the loss of faith, identity and love through the lens of (admittedly limited) personal experience. Two albums of this pop music exist so far: Vision of St. Cross (2017) and Rinzen (2018). There exist four other purely ambient/noise/drone albums for guitar and/or violin: Twin Mythemes (2018), White Leopards (2018), Dewy Reds, Fatal Jaws (2018), and A Panther to Ephraim (2019). This discography was selected in August 2018 to be preserved in the British Library Sound Archive. Dear Laika has played live, sharing bills with artists such as Matana Roberts, Loraine James, Mich Cota, and caroline; Dear Laika has also played violin as part of caroline in live performances.