Katie Von Schleicher shares her new single, “Nowhere,” from her upcoming album Consummation, out May 22nd via Ba Da Bing. The melancholic track follows lead single “Caged Sleep,” on which Von Schleicher “sounds motivated and optimistic, like she’s realizing her mystical powers and deciding what to do with them” (Consequence of Sound). “Nowhere” quietly swells with steady percussion and airy synth. Von Scheicher’s voice is contemplative and delicate as she sings “‘about the close and tight feeling of being alone. It can be a hard spell to break,” says Von Schleicher. “The narrative is simple: I’m at home and promising someone I’ll leave any minute. I go out into the night, driving alone. Everything conspires to ride the line between comfort and the unknown – that’s my aim at least.”
Throughout Consummation, Von Schleicher blasts past the lo-fi power ballads of her debut Shitty Hits (2017) with a severe expansion of her sonic palette; its 13 shape-shifting songs depicting a deeply personal exploration of trauma. The result is both potent and listenable; strange and familiar; intense and entertaining—and, perhaps most of all, teeming with life.
Consummation is, in part, inspired by an alternate interpretation of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. In 2018, Von Schleicher rewatched the seminal film and was struck by its largely unanalyzed subtext of abuse. She knew immediately that this hidden narrative, which spoke to her personal experience, would be the basis of her album.
While writing and engineering the record, she found sanctuary in the words of other women: namely, Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy and Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost. The latter proved particularly influential; soon after revisiting Vertigo, Von Schleicher stumbled upon Solnit’s lacerating take on the film, describing the “wandering, stalking, haunting” of romantic pursuit that it depicts as “consummation,” while “real communion”—understanding and mutual respect between two lovers—is, to the men in the film, “unimaginable.” The consequence is a fundamental failure of communication. At its core, Consummation evokes the pain of being unable to bridge that vast psychic distance between oneself and another. Can love that destroys, Von Schleicher asks, be love at all?