Appalachian folk roots and influences ranging from Mazzy Star and Hooverphonic to The Cranes meet this Spring for the EP release of Christine Greyson’s: Hypnodirt. Greyson comes from a long line of Appalachian folk musicians. This ancestral influence blends the sensibilities of witchcraft and the darker side of nature and presents this offering to a wider audience of electronica fans.
To say that Hypnodirt is ethno-electronic risks overlooking the album’s strong sense of space rooted firmly in Appalachia’s dark hills. This mountain culture is often misunderstood, and Greyson’s sense of oral storytelling imbues her lyrics with mystery and magic.
Far from dabbling with rural obscurantism, Hypnodirt melds the power and mystery of the woods with modern electronic influences such as industrial, glitch, and dance. Combining these differences into a cohesive whole is an act of magical alchemy. The individual tracks open windows to this central sonic heart to include tonal and rhythmic treats for everyone.
Hypnodirt can be considered the final blossom of Greyson’s three-year seclusion in a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Appalachia. The COVID era of 2020-21 and direct experience with the natural and untamed wilds sprouted the seeds of a new musical undertaking with tribal and magical nuance. A hint of Greyson’s vision can be seen in the recently released track: “Spider.” While Hypnodirt contains a remix of this song, what can be heard already cracks a door to the dark and spiritual ethos we can expect. While “Spider’s” beat remains the same throughout the song, it starts with a humming melody that changes with the entry of drums and electronic elements. “Spider” explores relentless nature in its darker aspects, particularly those threatening to inflict harm.
Evoking the spirit of wild Appalachia is a task that might overpower some artists or take them out of their depth. Some listeners might wonder what cultural credentials Greyson brings to the artistic table. Among local influences was Buna Presnell Hicks, a fiddler player who played and composed with her children. Grayson’s mother, Shelia Clark, was included in a vinyl collection from the early 80s. This music became part of an anthology of folk music artists from the Appalachia region known as the Folk Ways Recordings. These recordings are currently preserved in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
Hypnodirt is an album of mystical synaesthesia, childhood, femininity, and darkness blended with sound. The visual design deserves mention for its playful, eclectic sensibilities. But what stands out to a casual observer veils deeper meanings and spiritual undertones. Grayson’s visual influences come from nature and sorcery, which she believes come from the natural order. Other artistic influences originate from youthful emotions and even Alice in Wonderland.
In Hypnodirt, electronica fans can expect new dark and mystical soundscapes capped with tribal rhythms. If Grayson’s track “Spider” is an indication, this new album should be a welcome exploration of underappreciated ethnic sources of inspiration. While no definite release date is known, we expect Hypnodirt to drop in Spring 2023.
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