Julia Holter Embraces the Corporeal in New Album

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Ever-shifting orchestration envelops shards of meditative lyrical fragments in Something in the Room She Moves, the sixth studio album by composer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Julia Holter (Music-IM MFA 09).

Released through Domino Recording Company, the release marks Holter’s first solo studio album since Aviary (2018). The album’s creation was marked by a series of shifts, with Holter becoming pregnant in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, a newfound sense of physicality permeates Something in the Room She Moves’ tracklist, though the airiness for which Holter is known is present throughout the recording. The album title was inspired by a lyric from “Something,” a track on The Beatles’ Abbey Road (1969).

“I feel the same as when I started making music,” Holter said of her process in a recent interview with The Quietus. “My approach is consistently quite childlike and primitive. That’s why it’s hard to be a teacher sometimes, because I’m not pristine in my approaches. If they see me try to put together a beat, it’s so embarrassing because I’m a total mess. I love trial and error. I love mistakes. For me. That’s what’s so fun about music.”

The opulent and playful sounds found across the album’s 10 tracks come courtesy of Holter and various musicians, including fellow CalArtian Sarah Belle Reid (Music MFA 15, DMA 20) on trumpet. 

Something in the Room She Moves has already garnered favorable reviews:

“It exposes a side of Julia Holter that trades in ornate grandiosity for fluidity that can shift the room with even the smallest touch—sharing in our tiny joys and sorrows as she orchestrates unruly sound to blossom before retreating.”
—Elise Soutar for Paste Magazine 

“Beauty, rather than overstimulation, is foregrounded, with flutes and Holter’s own silken voice establishing airiness throughout these 10 tracks.”
—Kitty Empire for The Guardian 

“Casting off theatrical fineries, Holter set her melodies to music that offered questions rather than answers. Though crafted and produced with her usual perfectionism, Something in the Room She Moves feels similarly open-ended, as if preserved in its own potential.”
—Jazz Monroe for Pitchfork

Watch the music video for the track “Spinning” above, and listen to Something in the Room She Moves below.

Based in Los Angeles, Holter’s signature exploration of “song structure, atmosphere, minimalism and the authority of her voice” has established her as a genre-bending force in the indie music scene. Her fourth album, Loud City Song, was named the top album of 2013 by The Wire. In 2020, Holter scored filmmaker and alum Eliza Hittman’s (Film/Video MFA 10) critically acclaimed feature Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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