Ariadne Randall – “Her Water Dream / Image of a Blue Thumbs​-​Up” (2024)

TEXT: Tanja Fuchs

tales of intimate stories untold
inviting to decode contemporary preconceptions

(/peeling off layers of contemporary preconceptions)

Ariadne Randall is an American artist, composer and writer based in Vienna, Austria. Building worlds between academia and DIY, the classically trained musician creates spaces for imagination in sound, poetry and contemporary art. She is documenting her gender transition through a trilogy of performance works, of which the first, Reversed Cowgirl Beta, premiered at Brut, Vienna in 2023. Ariadne Randall’s new double-EP Her Water Dream / Image of a Blue Thumbs​-​Up was released as Limited Cassette Edition and Digital Album on May 31, 2024, via Sydney based Oxtail Recordings.

The minimalist and spacious tone of Her Water Dream / Image of a Blue Thumbs​-​Up is already set on the title track, comprising repetitive arpeggios and layered choir accentuations, carried by Randall’s pristine stream-of-consciousness vocal flow. With no indulgence in impact oriented percussions, the compositions resemble blueprints of rhythms solely developed from sculpted vocalism, polyphonic electroacoustics and digitally transfigured textures. While the second track [h2.2] grandother hallowhall, sinks into the skin like a cutting threnody to ancestors from centuries ago as well as to those of future generations to come (“yet they do not praise us, and we do not need their praise”), [h1.1] blunted (dover beach) literally defeats primordial organs with the simple power of ease. The latter’s gracefully explicit spoken word narration peels off numerous layers of shame and obsolete default identities.

[h2.3] on that last shore lives from a spanky and uncompromisingly vulnerable lead synth preceding in wild intuition. Spoiler alert: The lead is subsequently accompanied by clubby bass pads, plotting a course to biased grounds, but will soon be absorbed back into familiar abstraction, absconding into detuned webs of oscillating softness.

In contrast [h1.2] blue (da ba dee) comes in not only with a pop reference in its designation, but also an exhilarating twist in aesthetics. If this is evidence of the artist slowly dozing off on her synth keys, we’d definitely not want to walk out on the excursion, drifting off on velvet dreams of airy trap beats and asserted autotune.

Throughout the album’s narrative, a sense of the voice officiating as the guiding element occasionally feeds an unfulfilled desire for additionally published lyrics. But by savoring that very ambiguity between mind trip and meaning, Ariadne Randall’s courageous release shares intimate insights into her personal processes of transition and empowerment; their epiphenomena and uncertainties, including the invitation to decode all manner of preconceptions – also in contemporary composition.

Her Water Dream / Image of a Blue Thumbs​-​Up

by Ariadne Randall
Limited Cassette Edition + Digital Album
released May 31, 2024, Oxtail Recordings

Ariadne Randall

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