Image by Derek Hutchison
She was born in Indiana, and lives in Los Angeles – yet Syrian/Armenian songstress KÁRYYN possesses an ineffable quality that could easily find her mistaken for a Scandinavian Earth/Sky Goddess.
No surprise, she finds herself signed to Mute, a label that always possessed a particular feel for exactly such iconoclastic creative personalities. And though her debut album The Quanta Series won’t see release until March 29, she has already been busy dazzling the cognoscenti. Indeed, she composed the music for Samantha Shays’s 2016 opera of Light, under the tutelage of exalted performance artist Marina Abramović – and it instantly made a fan of Björk, who has called KÁRYYN “an inspiration.”
She was introduced as a solo artist earlier this year via a short film, created around her debut track “Moving Masses.” But we found ourselves profoundly affected by her second single, the tellingly titled “Aleppo” – a meditation on the Syrian city so devastated by civil war…and where she has actually spent a significant amount of time.
Musically, eerily haunted synthscapes are underscored by a jittery, fractured beat, as KÁRYYN intones ethereally, almost spectrally. Her words seem rife with contemplative longing for perhaps the lost idea/ideal of a place, long since shattered. And the poignant accompanying video seeks to make a visceral visual connection with that very place.
“Memory I hope you’re satisfied / & I hope you quantify / Because I know where you end.”
We can say without hesitation, that KÁRYYN is a monumental talent, just about to fully flower. You can witness it for yourself, as she joins labelmate Apparat at London’s Barbican on April 27 – to be followed by a more extensive tour.