Anja Plaschg‚ the Austrian singer/songwriter/actress‚ is more widely known as Soap & Skin. Her work expels forth spine tingling beauty‚ and even her screeches are breathtaking. I first put on her record Lovetune For Vacuum on a late Brooklyn night in 2009‚ and I played it through twice -- completely engrossed with the sounds emitted from my player. A friend had given me it a couple weeks prior‚ but everyday obstacles kept it from my ears. Both times through‚ I laid there happily paralyzed at what this girl had created. She was merely 19 when she made this‚ and the magnitude of power it holds is astonishing.
Check this:
The opening track "Sleep" eases you into what's in store for the rest of the album: A mixture of classical piano‚ elegant/dark electronics‚ and a blend of sounds that provide stunning imagery. In "Turbine Womb" machine-like electronic gears start circling and you find yourself emerged in a boiler room with a million gadgets about. The song reminds me of a Brad Anderson film. "Spiracle" seems to be the most "poppy" (although it's hard to call it pop) tune off the record. She speaks on her childhood‚ and although we all look back on that being such a sacred time‚ there were definitely some dark patches we'd all rather not remember. But‚ that is what growing up is all about: attempting to not recreate those times and learn from them. "Marche Funèbre" will send you deep into the bowels of a mad scientist's lair -- visualize a mean pipe organ from the 1700's that leads 20 some odd feet in the air with skulls scattered along side of them. Yeah‚ chilling‚ but somehow‚ you aren't afraid.
Check out her interesting covers of Lou Reed's "Pale Blue Eyes" and Nico's "Afraid" to taste a couple of her influences. Unlike most girls her age‚ she's exploring many styles of music rather than shaking her ass in a club somewhere. Some critics have stated that her work is somewhat similar to Cat Power as well. This girl can move mountains and put out fires‚ just listen‚ wait‚ and see. Mostly performing everywhere in the world besides the U.S.‚ I eagerly await her September 4th concert in Manhattan at Le Poisson Rouge. This will be a show without her usual ensemble‚ but will be captivating nonetheless.