[ Alumni In the Press ]

Olga Bell (Norfolk ’04) Releases “Incantation”

October 20, 2015

OlgaBellOlga Bell’s 2014 album, “Krai,” was fearlessly obscure: a collection of songs in Russian that revealed grand compositional ambitions and a dynamic voice. (Ms. Bell was born in Moscow and raised in Alaska, and studied classical piano and electronic composition; she also sang and played keyboards with Dirty Projectors.) Her new EP, “Incitation” (One Little Indian), brings her to the arty, adventurous edge of pop.

Synthesizers enfold her in fluctuating artificial environments; programmed drums switch between propulsion and bombardment. The lyrics are in English, cryptic but urgent, getting swept up in love or worrying about total collapse: “More or less what you wanted everything disintegrating./Think about the future, don’t it seem to turn a darker shade?” But she has forthright, supple melodies to hold everything together, and a voice — creamy, vibrant, sensual — that makes all her conundrums startlingly immediate.