Over an impressionistic hum of abstract electronics, aya sinclair's voice throws open the curtains of her debut album with cheeky sincerity: "Me. More." For those only familiar with her previous releases, "im hole" will be a dramatic revelation. Under the LOFT pseudonym, she attracted global acclaim for her fwd-thinking club inversions that juxtaposed the British addiction to breaks 'n bass with critical, self-sluicing logic and untethered abstraction. Deconstructed club it may have been, but aya wielded that awkward label like a sequin-clad wrecking ball, tearing down dance music's hallowed pillars of respectability while winking knowingly to voyeuristic onlookers.
Contorting language, dialect, gender and sexuality between intermittently controlled bursts of rhythm, noise and aural goop, she has sculpted a set of autobiographical vignettes that challenge established norms, question supposed truths and affirm a spectrum of interlocking experiences. "one night's enough to know where's roots," she croaks as an electronic orchestra dies a death on 'still i taste the air'. With cinematic clarity she recalls a voyage home, and all the messy emotional complexity that might dislodge, mirroring the emotional quicksand with heaving, narcotic synths. "we stan a bold statement," she deadpans on 'backsliding'.
But while it's wide open and personal, "im hole" also challenges queer art's tendency to veer towards repetitive solipsism. Even the title itself references the unwieldy mix of self-actualization and sexualization that bogs down cultural perceptions of the trans experience. It's neither one thing nor t'other, just as much a sly nod to dissociative afterparty sloppiness as it is any self-congratulatory pinkwashed grandstanding. The music follows suit, fragmenting familiar sounds and twinning them with familiar words, assembled in unfamiliar ways. Stories are muddled with phonetics just as dubstep is macrodosed with microtonal drone.
"im hole" is aya, more. The anxious, explorative personality that made her previous releases so magnetic is magnified and her sense of humor is completely naked. It's a Gregg Araki-directed animated biopic of Burial. It's Shakespeare with hoop earrings and a busted skateboard. It's Batman grazing her stubble on Catwoman's cock. It serves ckunt, but with a side of mushy peas.