New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Nia Archives, Clarissa Connelly, Kira McSpice, and more

When trees are injured or infected, they do not attempt to heal their wounds. Instead, they compartmentalize, letting their damaged parts wither so the rest can thrive. On The Compartmentalization of Decay, Kira McSpice proceeds from this principle, pouring her personal trauma into a discreet, 45-minute album in order to seal wounds that can’t be healed in a traditional sense. Her third full-length, following 2019’s Prodrome and 2022’s Postdrome, TCOD takes us on a fantastically dark journey through the depths of McSpice’s despair in the aftermath of a sexual assault. It’s a tale steeped in dense metaphor, with McSpice and each of her three collaborators on the record embodying specific thematic elements — William Ponturo’s guitar parts alternate as Spile and Fog, whereas Tyler Skoglund plays synth (Red Sky) and bucket (Bucket), and Kalun Leung’s trombone is the Sun. McSpice herself plays electric guitar (Earth), glass harp (Water), corrugaphone (Wind), and musical saw (Spirits), but her main function is as the album’s Narrator, a role that allows her gorgeous, operatic voice to echo with an otherworldly intensity. Whether eerily muffled (as on “Dark and Endless Fog”) or unbridled and ecstatic (as in the climax of “Evaporate”), it radiates an uncanny power, crashing against the boundaries of McSpice’s own creation like a river against a dam. — Raphael Helfand

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp


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