In the music of Holly Herndon, the most fundamental subject of electronic music – the relationship between human and machine – becomes a conceptual, as well as highly tangible, expression of the voice, electronically treated and put together in fractal, digitally generated patterns. Using song and the sounds of breathing and sampled voices as her materia prima, she makes music that treats the psysical expression of the vocal chords as bits and bytes of data, as de- and reconstructed streams of information.
Originally from Tennessee, Holly Herndon achieved a masters degree in electronic music composition from the famous Mills College, but, just as importantly, started her career completely immersed in the techno and club culture of Berlin. Her music plays out as a constant negotiation between these two seemingly irreconcilable musical stances, or perhaps rather denies any such unbridgeable gap. It is abstract and intellectual, while being simultaneously sensual, extrovertedly rhythmic and woven through with strands of melodic pop, balancing perfectly between experimentalism and approachability.
With only two releases to her name, the excellent debut LP Movement and last years 12-inch Chorus, Herndons potential seems enormous. She’s carved her very own niche in a space where the electronic avantgarde tradition and club culture overlap, where the body and the computer are united in an intimate embrace. Complex and paradoxical, Herndons music lets the voice harmonize freely with itself and with the artificial hum of electronically generated soundwaves, lending the machines a voice of their own. It is transhuman choir music tapped from the information superhighways – holy hymns dedicated to human expression and invention.