Hausfrau: Night Tides (3 stars)

An absorbing, pulsing electronica debut from Claudia Nova, occasionally let down by weak vocals

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Hausfrau: Night Tides

(Unknown Pleasures)

Hausfrau is the alter ego of Glasgow-based artist, Claudia Nova, who brings us an absorbing debut in the form of Night Tides. Released on the aptly-named Unknown Pleasures label (there is at least a thematic connection, if not exactly a direct similarity to Joy Division), Night Tides intends to explore the core ideas of darkness and light in music as well as via its aesthetic. Through eight electronic, synth-driven pieces, it creeps and creaks and often envelops, with an hypnotic tidal rhythm.

The collection here compiles five original songs with three reinterpretations. It opens with a stark, sparse version of a traditional folk song with unknown origin, ‘Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair’, which sets the throbbing tone with an embedded nod to Donovan's ‘Colours’; an artist whom Nova later covers in his own right with a haunting take on ‘Season of the Witch’.

Original piece ‘Running’ sees Nova stand in her own light as it bobs and lilts with snaking guitars and soft pulses. The rest of the album takes healthy cues from 80s cinematic and dark pop influences, cemented by the inclusion of a collaboration from Altered Images’ Jim McKinven, as well as the performance of a pivotal piece from David Lynch's Blue Velvet, ‘Mysteries of Love’. It all culminates in a chilling and brooding piece of work that is as much a headphone experience as it is an entrancing live prospect.

Admittedly, Nova's voice sometimes struggles to strike as powerfully as her music, which can sometimes stem the flow but feels like something she'll surely grow to fit, as the scope is here for her to expand into a lot of interesting territory. Overall, any curious lovers of pulsing electronica with a cinematic scope will enjoy what is altogether a promising and intelligent debut; one that will hopefully set Nova in good stead to further explore her dark side.

Hausfrau - Running

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