When asked about Dune, many people are more likely to remember Sting in his winged underpants (from the 1984 David Lynch adaptation) than other more relevant plot elements. Originally a classic novel, Dune featured the nomadic Fremen – a people with a dedication to the preservation of water on the desert planet and whose long exposure to the spice melange had rendered their eyes a very distinctive blue.
Dune certainly appears to have had a cultural impact on musicians of late with Canadian experimental musician Timotheos crafting an album inspired by the novel – an idea that had previously occurred to fellow Canadian Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) when she released her 2010 debut album Geidi Primes (Geidi Prime being a fictional planet in the Duneuniverse).
Brooklyn-based musician Lorna Krier, meanwhile, has rechristened herself as Lorna Dune for a solo project, which first manifested itself with the release of the Sidereal EP in 2012. Enthusiasts of 19th Century literature will appreciate the play on words with her moniker, but music fans will definitely want to stick around for her own unique style of synth-based soundscapes.
Krier has some suitably impressive credentials to back her up. As well as being a trained pianist, she’s also worked with the likes of Philip Glass and Steve Reich in the past. Back in 2006 she was a founder-member of Gothic electronica outfit Victorie and later went on to co-found synth trio Love Like Deloreans. More recently, she’s been collaborating with composer Lukas Ligeti with the experimental group Kaleidoscope Point.
Sidereal, her debut release as Lorna Dune, was issued as a cassette and download release on Dazzleships Records in 2012. The EP featured a collection of glittering electronic soundscapes and ambient textures. ‘Love Out Of Balance’ presents delicate arpeggio-fuelled melodies delivered by electronic piano. ‘The Depths’ offered up an oceanic plunge of buzzy burbling wonder. Meanwhile, the title track is a soaring celestial composition that at times sounds like a Kraftwerk tune from the universe next door.
Her latest release is Miamisphere, a 4 track EP which opts for a more beats-driven affair, particularly with the likes of ‘Agnes Day’, a panoramic layered composition of brooding synthesisers and tonal delights. Title track ‘Miamisphere’ (which originally appeared on Sidereal), meanwhile, is a much more languid affair with its hypnotic melodies soaring above a dense bed of electronic effects.
It’s difficult to categorise Lorna Dune as she elegantly sidesteps genres (while cheekily giving a nod to several) yet remaining firmly within the orbit of electronic music. Certainly Krier is offering up a refreshing alternative for those that may feel exhausted by retro synth acts and the like, which can only be beneficial. Or, to quote Dune: “Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens”.
Text by Paul Browne
8th January 2014