11 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Londoner Tirzah Mastin’s full-length debut is an album of wonderful, intimate love songs comprised of sparse instrumentation and flyaway vocals. Each track revolves around a single theme, from healing (“Fine Again”) to infidelity (“Guilty”), and, as the title proffers, utter devotion (“Gladly”). They were written over several years, some about Tirzah’s own experiences, others inspired by friends. Yet despite their detached origin stories, here, they’re perfectly connected—largely thanks to her longtime producer and classmate Mica Levi. Levi’s stark, bare-essentials production, all alt-pop keys, and R&B beats (save for “Guilty,” which surprises with guitar distortion and Auto-Tune), provides little cover for Tirzah’s airy melodies, many of which were recorded in a single take. It might sound minimalist, but this deliberately unpolished album is far from simple—and it’s precisely those imperfections that make it so affecting.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Londoner Tirzah Mastin’s full-length debut is an album of wonderful, intimate love songs comprised of sparse instrumentation and flyaway vocals. Each track revolves around a single theme, from healing (“Fine Again”) to infidelity (“Guilty”), and, as the title proffers, utter devotion (“Gladly”). They were written over several years, some about Tirzah’s own experiences, others inspired by friends. Yet despite their detached origin stories, here, they’re perfectly connected—largely thanks to her longtime producer and classmate Mica Levi. Levi’s stark, bare-essentials production, all alt-pop keys, and R&B beats (save for “Guilty,” which surprises with guitar distortion and Auto-Tune), provides little cover for Tirzah’s airy melodies, many of which were recorded in a single take. It might sound minimalist, but this deliberately unpolished album is far from simple—and it’s precisely those imperfections that make it so affecting.

Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

Colossal

SamTMA

Tirzah’s striking debut carries so much weight of balance, intellect, and dreeeeaaamy beats. Everything seems so strong and fitted, yet flowing at the same time. A flow of miraculous beats/synths journeying around each ear. A flow of writing that is undamaged, and complimentary. And there’s a pull towards vulnerability and tension when lyrics on Gladly cross with music like see saw pushing you towards her message, and up and down melodies soaring across aching, “I love you”. Something has never sound so assured, found, and tenacious of affection. Undoubtedly, it’s humbling. This has to be one of the most poetic yearnings for release, and closeness, and reassurance. Ambient. Calm. Settling. There’s a foundation Devotion confidently sits on, in between and throughout is layers of Tirzah’s magic and identity. One of the best releases of 2018, it could easily be described as prodigious.

About Tirzah

London's wonky pop singer Tirzah first came to listeners' attention with her bold single "I'm Not Dancing," a collaboration with Micachu & the Shapes' Mica Levi that blended garage beats and an odd recorder sample into something ear-catching. Tirzah and Levi became friends during their time at the Purcell School, where Tirzah was studying harp and Mica was studying violin, viola, and composition. The pair began working on their own music at that time, but Tirzah decided to pursue a career in fashion and Levi went on to form the Shapes. They restarted their collaboration in the 2010s with 2012's I'm Not Dancing EP, a distinctive blend of Levi's noise-meets-classical-meets-electronic production and Tirzah's down-to-earth vocals. The EP was released by Greco Roman, also home to Disclosure and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. The pair returned in April 2014 with the No Romance EP, a slightly more streamlined version of their unique electro-pop. Tirzah continued to crop up as a guest vocalist on various albums, including Dels' Petals Have Fallen in 2014 and Baauer's Aa in 2016, as well as releasing a string of singles on Greco Roman. However, in 2018 she finalized her debut full-length, Devotion, written alongside longtime friend and collaborator Levi and released via Domino. ~ Heather Phares

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