Call Super & Julia Holter: “Illumina”

Rhythmically and texturally, Call Super’s “Illumina” clearly comes from the same wellspring as previous releases like 2017’s Arpo and 2020’s Every Mouth Teeth Missing: Tightly syncopated drums burble like a water fountain, while trilling clarinets scrawl atonal streaks in the margins. The track’s DNA contains as much free improv as dance music. But the new single is a subtle and crucial departure, marking the first time the British-born, Berlin-based producer has worked with a featured singer in their solo work.

The porousness of the production offers ample opportunities for Julia Holter to use her voice in unusual ways; rather than pasting on a broadly melodic topline, she takes an abstract, often pointillistic approach, filling in the song’s empty spaces with hiccupping breaths, staccato phrases, and eerie, chromatic figures that mirror the clarinet’s squeal. Listening to the song, she has said, “I thought of when electrons spin between energy levels and emit light.” Even if her precise lyrics may be hard to tease out, there’s no mistaking the glow she brings to Call Super’s charged particles.