Today singer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and experimental artist Eliza Bagg launches her new solo project Lisel. Bagg is known as one half of the band Pavo Pavo, and has spent the last few years developing a prolific career in her own rite, from collaborating with indie and electronic acts like Helado Negro and Julianna Barwick, to honing her work as a classical singer, performing in avant-garde operas by Meredith Monk with the LA Philharmonic, to the work of John Zorn and Caroline Shaw. Now Bagg shares her debut as Lisel, a stunning track entitled “Ciphers” alongside a mesmerizing Jing Niu-directed music video. Listen and watch now via Stereogum.
Lisel on “Ciphers” and its music video:
The word cipher has two meanings – it can be a coded message, but it can also be an empty hole, a zero. The song is about the haunting uncertainty in the pathways that have been set out before you, and realizing these courses have become more ambiguous and disorienting than you thought – at best entangled, at worst empty. There’s also, however, the glimmer of trying to find authenticity within that reality – the background choir serving as the basis for the song is simultaneously pure and glitchy, faulty but still true.
The video is set in three surreal, manufactured landscapes: a celestial beach next to a reflection pool, a dark space where a shadow figure mimics and supports my movement, and a river of red silk. My identity is echoed in the pool and splintered in the shadow figure.
Lisel grew from Bagg‘s desire to turn inwards as a way to get in touch with her own sense of authenticity. “I had found space in the classical world that made sense for me,” says Bagg, “but I realized I needed to make something that was truly mine, that sprung from my own voice.” This led to a year-long writing and recording process, with Bagg waking up every morning to spend time alone with just a microphone and her computer.
“My main instrument is my voice, not a keyboard or a guitar, so I wanted it to be the genesis of every song,” she says. “I was trying to use the resources I had within me, within my body, to make something that feels true about the way we live our lives now, in 2019. That’s why I wanted to focus on my voice-I wanted each song to be literally made out of me.”
Lisel will perform with Chromatics, Helena Deland and DESIRE on May 9th in Dallas, TX, at Granada Theater and hosted by Gorilla vs. Bear. Get your tickets HERE.