Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song (5 stars)

Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song

Techno producer/musician's second album is immersive and artfully constructed

Two years after her debut, Welsh producer and composer Kelly Lee Owens' newest album Inner Song is the end result of a tough period in her life, as she attempts to resolve personal struggles with the natural elements, aquatic and planetary, she finds her solace in.

Owens paints her world of influences, from indie pop and Arthur Russell to sound therapy and psychoanalysis, with reverberating, pulsating electronica. While covering so much ground, the finished hybrid never strays too far from a central premise of heartfelt intimacy.

'Arpeggi' opens with an alternate instrumental take on Radiohead's 'Weird Fishes / Arpeggi', before 'On' and lead single 'Melt' move into more dance-heavy territory. In 'Re-Wild', her dreamier side comes out while staying grounded in a thoughtful worldliness.

A sense of turmoil comes out in 'L.I.N.E', 'You'd think I'd learn by now that this shit's not easy [...] Love is not enough to stay, I'd rather be on my own.' The introspective seven-and-a-half minute 'Corner Of My Sky' features The Velvet Underground's John Cale's laden over a nuanced composition of looped, warping basslines and hypnotic rhythms. Cale sultrily sings about the night sky, cycles of nature and unending gratitude for the rain. Owens steadily builds some of her strongest work as she draws patient, grand soundscapes out of minimal sources.

Owens works with voices, her own included, in a way that artfully blends them into the bigger picture. While she has lots to express, she carefully restrains it all with an emotional maturity and engineers something more meaningful than the sum of its parts. A world of immersive techno and ephemeral vocals you grab elusively for as they float just out of your reach, before she urges you at the very end to 'wake up, wake up…'.

Out Fri 28 Aug via Smalltown Supersound.

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