Release date: October 26, 2021
hem/sew is a new beat tape from vhvl, the invention of New York City musician and producer Veronica Lauren. An exercise in presence in the ever-transitional now, hem/sew invites us to approach the liminality between opposing forces — high and low, old and new, light and dark, ebb and flow — and to move quickly but consciously to the next interval.
Lauren compiled hem/sew from a clutch of material composed variously and anachronistically, suffusing older pieces with new elements, and recent experiments with traces of the past. Lauren’s methodology in music production, inspired in part by Jungian psychology and theories of meta-cognition, keeps experience and memory close but rarely allows either to escape the present thought to influence the future. Through this self-generative processing, vhvl’s emergent work transforms light and dark themes into corresponding high and low frequencies.
True to form and function, vhvl is an acronym for “very high, very low,” a mantra that informed Lauren’s sound spatialization on early productions, beginning with 2013’s album myrrh. A slow burning fuse of subsequent releases composed and created on the Roland SP-303 and 404 made Lauren’s corner of the NYC cosmos a parallel dimension to the west coast constellation of beatmaking. But whereas her Cali counterparts coalesced in style and over collaborations, Lauren operates outside of context and expectations, never inside someone else’s idea of where her music belongs.
Through constant transition, Lauren avoids identifying herself as an artist. vhvl works best above, below and beyond categorization, an important consideration while experiencing hem/sew. Like two phases of the tide, the emotional undertow of hem/sew stirs with opposing but analogous forces, one returning to the other in a figure eight of mutual harming and healing. Formed of ten parts woven into one, hem/sew thrives in perpetual, introspective energy, shifting between brooding and sanguine, funky and restful, machinic and biotic, inky and opalescent.
hem/sew invites new listeners, old friends, back in to vhvl’s singular space, where sound does not speak but feels, and in which the listener must hear for themselves, and never for another. Like an edge, a fold, a threshold, this space is not definitively anywhere, and yet it always is there, much like Lauren herself.