Trevor Powers: Mulberry Violence 

"Youth Lagoon was never meant to be something that continued. Even its name was a reflection on the past."

Trevor Powers is a complicated man. During an interview with Boise Weekly, he had this to say about ending Youth Lagoon, his immensely popular and critically acclaimed solo act:

"Youth Lagoon was never meant to be something that continued. Even its name was a reflection on the past, and I viewed the entire project as a period piece."

Later in the interview, he took a different tone: "I had to murder that project in order to feel free."

There are two Trevors, and though they differ, it's hard to imagine Powers' first release since 2015, Mulberry Violence (Baby Halo, 2018), without them. The craftsman and rationalist in him cut an album with his inner Leninist, and the result is a record of uncommon clarity and honesty. Mulberry Violence drips with anger, disruption and frustration. Tracks crackle idiosyncratically with static, and distortion and echo batter the lyrics, sometimes, like in "Plaster Saint," to the point of unrecognizability. Time seems to bend and melody scarcely restores order in tracks like "XTQ Idol" and "Film It All." Others, like "Clad in Skin," are delicate and sexual. Ever-present is Powers himself, the stylist on a sonic safari.

Work on Mulberry Violence began over two years ago. Feeling like he had outgrown Youth Lagoon, Powers started building a sound library to draw from for a project under his own name.

"I made my own samples, my own sound library, really, for the first six to eight months, where I'd be sitting around the house in front of a microphone, turning knobs, doing anything to have that impulse to just create without knowing why," he said. "I used the sound library I created as the paintbrushes to the music. Because of that there was this idea of mixing the grotesque with the beautiful. I think you can say more through opposites than you can through choosing a side."

Powers will embark on a series of performances promoting the album starting at Neurolux on Wednesday, Sept. 26, that will take him across the West and to Europe, where he will perform at the Pitchfork Avant-Garde Festival in Paris. It's a packed schedule, but he said he's already writing his next work.

"I'm trying to not view it as an album yet, not to put stress on the writing process, but I'm never stopping the writing process," he said.

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