May 8, 2018 | by Dan Alvarez
If you want to figure out Elysia Crampton’s shapeshifting, confounding sound, you’ve got to try to understand where she came from. Though she remains quite private, her roots trace back to the Aymara People of Bolivia, an indigenous nation that has been living in the Andes for over 800 years. And she was born in Barstow, a sleepy, former mining town buried deep in the California desert.
Though worlds apart, her mystical, experimental sound draws inspiration from both places. Originally known as E+E, her stunning debut album (sadly, no longer available online), 2014’s The Light That You Gave Me to See You felt more like the strip malls, daytime TV, and desolate highways of her birthplace. Its seven songs paired futuristic dance music with snippets of pop radio ballads, Latin rhythms, and noisy grooves for a sound that was totally unique and hard to shake off.
Since then, her music has grown exponentially. No longer anonymous, Crampton is one of the key figures of an exciting generation artists who are creating dance music that refuses to be tied down to any sound or aesthetic. Alongside folks like Total Freedom, Yves Tumor, Arca, and Lotic (to name a few), she’s helping to reimagine a club scene truly inclusive and open to new sounds and fresh ideas.
Her recently-released, fourth studio album, Elysia Crampton, is perhaps her strongest and most personal project to date. Though plenty of modern touches remain in the mix, the disc is heavily rooted in the pounding beats of the Andes. The soothing, yet occasionally brutal sound reflects the beauty and pain of living in unforgiving terrain, but it can also just as easily be applied to life in America in 2018.
Watch the video for "Oscollo"