Lolina doesn’t give the impression that she especially wants to be understood. As one half of the experimental electronic duo Hype Williams and as a solo artist, the musician formerly known as Inga Copeland has resisted easily legible narratives at every turn. She’s said little about herself in the few interviews she’s given, and her music tends to confound most of the expectations a listener might bring to it. Her latest full-length release, The Smoke, centers Lolina’s singing voice more than her solo debut, Because I’m Worth It, but that doesn’t make it any easier to grasp. Where the human voice often asks listeners to identify with the person behind it, Lolina’s only deepens the sense of bewilderment that her music often provokes. Listening to The Smokeis like hearing a voice trying to locate itself in an unstable environment, rubbing up against strange synth textures, asymmetrical beats, and jagged melodic phrases. Like her contemporaries Klein, Mhysa, and Jenny Hval, Lolina challenges ingrained assumptions about what songs are and what they can do, dragging her listeners through an exhilarating funhouse of sound.
Because women are often presumed to make inherently confessional, diaristic music, it’s a thrill to hear a voice like Lolina’s get tangled up in songs that can’t be tied to anyone’s personal life, hers or otherwise. The Smoke is adamantly suspicious of emotionality and literal meaning; like SOPHIE’s songs, whose lyrics often riff on an abstract handful of words, it’s pure play. Lolina harbors skepticism toward the idea of body music, too. While much electronic music lives and dies on the beat, Lolina’s compositions don’t pound or thump. Instead, they inch, squirm, and writhe through their runtimes. Dull bass drums, hand percussion, and finger snaps, often playing polyrhythms, jolt each track along. Above them, Lolina’s voice, an M.I.A.-style speak-sing, floats on a pulse all its own.
text from Pictchfork