Alex Krawczyk’s “Le Olam”
Having a detailed sound isn’t the same thing as allowing for overindulgence to influence your aesthetics, and if there’s someone out to prove that much with their debut LP this year, it’s Alex Krawczyk. Le Olam, her very first album, is filled with intricate pieces in “As a River Does,” “Better Days,” “Up Ahead,” and “There Will Be Light,” but while it’s obvious that the little things matter to Krawczyk when she’s trying to get something across to her listeners, she isn’t getting hung up on the postmodernity of more passive pop style here. To me, Le Olam is incidentally surreal, and directly demonstrative of its creator’s best gifts.
The masterful use of rhythm, or lack thereof, in “Calling My Angels,” “I Will Take You Home,” and the sporty “Turning” makes the lyrics contained in these tracks sound so much more tangible to the audience than they already would have, and I think Krawczyk’s ability to roll with a groove rather than stylizing the shape of an entire song through her vocal says something about her ability to push her own limits.
She doesn’t have to be in charge; she’s letting the music take both her and us on an adventure, and the odyssey grows consistently more spellbinding as Le Olam presses forth. Production quality is an element that I always take with a grain of salt when breaking down a record, being that substance is more important than fireworks, but this is another area where Krawczyk’s brilliant attention to detail distinguishes her skillset from the competition.
From the tonality of the instruments in “Full Moon Rising” to the brooding nature of her drawl in “Remember” beside Dione Taylor, she isn’t letting a single component of the magic escape our focus, which is a key reason why I think Le Olam stands out as much as it does this year.