Offering something quite different from the club-music deconstructors she usually gets lumped in with, Elysia Crampton's incredibly personal sonic vision pulls from her twisted compositional flare, sharp sound design, and brilliant recontextualization of samples. Crampton has been outspoken about her work being a study and exploration of her Aymaran and Latinx roots, as well as her queerness and, like the rest of her discography, there's nothing passive or easy about 2017's Spots Y Escupitajo.
The album kicks of with a series of short pieces that partially resemble the jarring station identification drops that blast out of most mainstream radio stations every half hour and also conjure up the same feels you'd get from some batshit Erik Aadahl sound design from an explosion in a Michael Bay movie. However, the effect isn't cheesy or laughable—it's anxious and unsettling. The movements of Spots Y Escupitajo's piano-laden journey pieces—like the psychedelic and folky meandering of "Promesa (Placer County Pride)" and the delicately ominous "Spittle (Safeway Parking Lot)"—definitely have stories to tell. And while the compositions may not be as revealing to the listener as they are to Crampton, it doesn't make them any less enveloping or affecting. Whether you show up this gig expecting some kind of post-club dance environment or a modern folk experience, it's safe to expect Crampton's performance will be challenging, powerful, and otherworldly. —Joel Shanahan