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On Aviary, we travel a world populated by birds, angels, and ghosts—at once characters in a mystery of uncertain denouement and a stand-in for the memories and thought-images that seem to fly through the mind on their own volition. Inklings of impending doom (“Everything Is an Emergency”) hover side-by-side with ecstatic professions of love (“Turn the Light On”) and moments of triumphant solidarity (“Voce Simul”). Like other recent projects—composing and performing a live score to Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, as well as arranging her album Tragedy for opera, in 2017—Aviary sees Holter juxtaposing ancient and contemporary reference points. Time collapses, with references to the deep past—Joan of Arc, the Christian Crusades, the mass hysteria of the dance of Saint Vitus—seeming to double as metaphors for our hopes and anxieties in the present. Jetting between medieval chamber music and proggy jazz-rock transports, plaintive balladry and android robotics, it’s a journey full of wild twists and turns—but it’s one that seems to cling to a sense of radical hope, even in its most sombre moments.
Aviary, Julia Holter’s fifth record, released at the end of last year, took as its starting point a quote from writer Etel Adnan: "I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds". The resulting double album took listeners on an epic journey, guiding them through the cacophony of our world, whilst Holter explored “how one responds to that feeling as a person - how one behaves, how one looks for love, for solace”.
As she embarks on a full North American tour with the 6-piece Aviary band, Holter is pleased to share the new video for ‘Les Jeux To You’. Like several of the songs on Aviary, ‘Les Jeux To You’ references love and when Holter mentions love, “it’s about a seeking for compassion and humility in a world where it feels like empathy is always being tested”.