The music of San Jose-based artist Kathryn Mohr exists in a liminal space of auditory dissociation. Drawing inspiration from lost items washing up on the shore of the San Francisco Bay, Mohr’s art chases the ephemeral nature of humanity, the warping of memory, and how trauma changes one's experience of this world. Her latest foray into such depths comes in the form of Holly, a seven-song EP produced by Midwife’s Madeline Johnston.
Like Mohr’s 2020 self-recorded demo tape As If, Holly finds the intersection between analog and synthetic timbres in the name of exploring the unanswerable questions of being. The tracks -- a mix of slow-core inspired art pop, ambient experimentation, and field recordings -- share depressive tones and obscure but urgent themes.
Recorded in a rural area of New Mexico, the quiet of the desert and the methodical, skillful guidance of Madeline Johnston seeped their way into the essence of Holly. “The desert stripped me down,” Mohr details. “The desert quieted the thoughts in my mind, replaced them with roadrunners and wind storms. I felt a sense of perspective that was somehow connected to the expansiveness of the land. I felt far away and therefore safe.”
From the perfectly flawed nature of its production to Mohr’s distant, multi-tracked vocals, the direness is inescapable. Holly drops the listener into the place from which it was derived: the vast reflectively meaningless expanses of the desert.