Avola - Psykor (Tape)

Psykor is AVOLA’s most ambitious project to date: a collection of recordings created in the ongoing aftermath of a lingering global pandemic. The cavernous void at its center is a two-month trip Veronica Avola took to her birthplace of Rapallo, Italy in the spring of 2021 in order to help her mother sort through the belongings of her estranged grandmother, who passed away from COVID the previous fall. Field recordings made at her grandmother’s delayed funeral and of the eerie sounds of the furniture in her empty apartment are mixed with the richly expressive voices of modular synthesizers and the sentient stirrings of samplers to trace a psychedelic journey through an emotionally fraught underworld. This heaviness is evident throughout, from the howling resonance of opener “Beast Belly” to the elegiac ambience of “In the Mourning.”
As with all of Avola’s work, there is also a playful side to this album, which bursts through in the prismatic potency of beat-driven bangers like “Daddy Loves E.T.” and “R.I.P. BOAR (Hit By Ford Fiesta)”. The harsh catharsis of these tracks maps onto an experience of re-entry — of being back in the US, back to being able to play live shows — along with a heightened awareness of the paramount importance of friendship. Whether forged in the bonds of biology or through the connections of chosen community, the theme of family shines through here in all its glorious complexity, as does Avola’s mastery of finding humor in darkness.
-Emily Pothast