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Siv Disa’s Dreamhouse is a hypnotic debut from a distinctive voice

"Dreamhouse"

Release date: 12 November 2021
8/10
Siv dasa dreamhouse art
08 November 2021, 06:55 Written by Jay Singh
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Entangling psychedelic pop, dusty electronica and freak folk into strangely inviting, unique forms, Siv Disa creates miniature chambers for immense feelings.

The beginnings of the Iceland-via-NYC artist’s debut record, Dreamhouse, were built alongside frequent artistic collaborator Sam and the Sea in upstate New York before the pandemic hit. The pair later reunited in an isolated cabin in the woods to finish the record - and though this may sound like an escapist’s paradise, it instead allowed Disa to face her emotions head on.

Dreamhouse leads you through endless doors, round winding corridors or up stairways so tall the air begins to thin. Almost immediately, “Painted Ceiling” captures you in its breathtaking delirium; it’s a frantic reach for euphoria, Disa’s voice twisting into unpredictable shapes as she pleads the listener - and herself - to look up and see what beauty the universe has to offer.

There’s something hypnotising about her vocals: one second abstract and formless, the the next expressing complex emotions with a masterful ease. “Sorry” is somewhat dejected, holding the burden of hardship far beyond her control, yet Disa comes across as empathetic and assuring throughout the song’s many apologies. And on “Whistle”, a bittersweet goodbye to someone who refuses to change, she sings delicately in a near whisper, though never appears timid — ensuring her decision to leave is definite.

Across Dreamhouse, Disa blurs the lines between the analogue and digital, reality and make-believe. On “Fear”, cold gusts of wind tumble across synthetic expanses as Disa contemplates empty connections and dissociative reactions, the subtle distortions to her voice seemingly attempting to disguise yet emphasising her unease as she questions: “Is that fear / Or the knowledge that the truth would break me? / And which is freer / The illusion or the pain it saves me?”

As you’re guided deeper into the record, time seems to bend - her voice stretches out into haunting, choral harmonies as the instrumentation spaces out. Disa offers you a chance to slow down, take deep breaths and decompress, safe from the outside world. “The world’s not good to us / But we’re good to ourselves … Look at the stars / This is where we really are / Hold me out in the dark / Bright and small and strong,” she sighs on closing track “In the Hills”, leaving the door to her Dreamhouse open for anyone who needs its shelter.

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