Adhoc Presents: Vagabon
"Break the rules you think you are bound by." That's the recurring sentiment Lætitia Tamko carried with her through the writing and recording of her second album under the Vagabon moniker. Her first, 2017's Infinite Worlds, was an indie breakthrough that put her on the map, prompting Tamko to tour around the world and quit her job in electrical/computer engineering to pursue a career in music full-time. Tamko's Nonesuch Records debut All The Women In Me, finds her in a state of creative expansion, leaning fully into some of the experimental instincts she flirted with on the previous album. This time around, she's throwing genre to the wind. All The Women In Me is a vibrant culmination of influences, emotional landscapes, and moods; a colorful and masterful statement by an artist and producer stepping into her own. "I was in a pretty tortured headspace when I returned home from touring Infinite Worlds. That album contained some of the first songs I'd ever written, and more people than I could have ever imagined heard it," Tamko says. "I was proud to become a full-time musician and recognized how rare of a thing that is, but was also debilitated by the very same fact. Fear overtook me and I couldn't write. I felt stagnant and unsure of what to do next." That anxiety eventually thawed and gave way to a newfound sense of freedom as Tamko began to focus less on industry pressures and more on honing her craft as a songwriter and producer. "With this album, I wanted to impress myself," Tamko says. "I wanted to be curious and I wanted to make big leaps as a producer. All I had access to on the road was my computer and Logic, so naturally I started writing songs electronically with what was at hand." All The Women In Me was written and produced entirely by Tamko. Guitar-driven melodies are largely absent, and in their place we are treated to a collection of songs buoyed by hybridized analog and digital arrangements. While Infinite Worlds situated the last Vagabon project in the realm of "indie rock," All The Women In Me is not easily defined. Grounded by Tamko's expressive voice and knack for unique melodies, the album flits between genres, never lingering too long on one particular sensibility. Lead single "Flood Hands" exemplifies this growth; the production ebbs like a gentle tide before a cavernous drumbeat kicks in and the tone shifts completely. "I know, even if I run from it I'm still in it," Tamko sings over and over again, her capacious voice conveying a sense of resignation in the face of an external force beyond her control. The chorus is a hypnotic bit of pop alchemy that lingers long after the runtime. "The drums and vocal forward approach I took on All The Women In Me is drawn from my love for rap and hip-hop production as well as R&B and folk storytelling. That's the music that got me excited about writing again," Tamko says. In addition to those influences, the West African guitars and rhythms that soundtracked much of her childhood seep into moments throughout this album, in no place more obvious than on "In A Bind." The song opens with a fingerpicked melody as Tamko sings to someone she's been orbiting for a while but can't quite reach. "I know that I was gone a lot last year/ But I hoped you'd still be here," she sings. After that, words no longer serve, and lyrics are replaced by robust, choral vocals singing the refrain: "Uh-huh, yes, uh-huh."
Venue: National Sawdust
80 N 6th St Map
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