Holly Herndon “Home”

hollyherndon-homeMusically, this is as good as anything Holly Herndon has done over the last few years (right up there with “Chorus,” which is her best work to date). It’s intricately edited and assembled, conveying the claustrophobic and intrusive themes she explores on the piece.  “Home” is some of her most straightforward, pop-laced music to date but is not without a vast bank of boundary-destroying experimentation that marks her work.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s no one better than Holly Herndon in 2014.

Beyond the music, though, her statement about the motivations behind the piece are worth the price of admission alone:

“For my debut album Movement, I communicated an intimacy with my laptop,” says Herndon “It is my instrument, memory, and window to most people that I love. It is my Home.”

“The ongoing NSA revelations have fundamentally changed this relationship. I entrusted so much in my device,” continues Herndon. “To learn this intimacy had been compromised felt like a grand betrayal. Is everything done privately on my laptop to be considered a public performance?”

“In ‘Home’, I address that invisible audience. It is a love song for prying eyes (an agent / a critic), and also a break up song with the devices with which I shared a naive relationship. There is something dramatic, teenage and vulnerable to this sensation – our relationships with these interconnected devices are still so young, so naive.”

“The video for ‘Home’ provides a visual counterpart to Holly’s uneasy relationship with the NSA agent,” state Metahaven. “The NSA spying on our network may have been tacitly known from reports going back as far as 2002, but the aesthetics of this surveillance were not so known. Code names, acronyms, icons and graphics from a shadow world designed to never be publicly exposed.”

“For ‘Home,’ we created a data rain of these NSA symbols. The video sees Holly from two angles; one where she is facing the camera, singing, another where she is being photographed and appears as if under surveillance. This track grasps a balance between vulnerability and control.”

“As a culture, we are in a process of accelerated, and reluctant, maturation,” concludes Herndon. “We are attempting to reconcile the great emotional power of these technologies knowing that the more we welcome them into our lives, the more power they have to destabilize and hurt us.”

“Home” is available now via RVNG