Anticlines, the sixth studio album by Lucrecia Dalt is an experimental marvel. A melding of voice and instrument that creates alien, yet familiar soundscapes that could easily soundtrack high-concept sci-fi that explores the nature of humanity. Indeed those very ideas permeate throughout the album, which explores the self and where that begins and ends.

The opening track, ‘Edge’ whose lyrics reference the legend of El Bararo - a mythical beast that drains it’s victims insides - is a great example of this. The song is performed as a kind of body-horror ASMR, with Dalt’s vocals spoken closely and clearly over mechanical whirs and clangs. The lyrics describe, in intricate detail, El Bararo emptying a victim and then exhaling its breath into the body, all the while wondering at what point their victim ceases being the original self.

The album is filled with philosophical ruminations like this, but Anticlines presents these ideas in accessible and intriguing ways. Dalt’s lyrics are largely delivered in a spoken word, or semi-sung like Laurie Anderson. The instrumentation, meanwhile, leans heavily towards minimalism, with lonely, echoing percussion and haunting, mournful synthesisers producing soundscapes that sound like they were recorded in deep caverns under the earth.

Ahead of her show at London’s Cafe Oto, we caught up with Lucrecia Dalt to talk more about Anticlines and its genesis.

Anticlines is an album that sounds unlike anything else you’ve produced before. How did you arrive at this sound?

It was a long and dedicated process of programming a synthesizer and combining different patches on it along with various effects. A lot of sounds on the album are triggered by the voice, passing it through these systems, and getting something completely different at the other end.

For this album you largely avoid singing and instead vocal tracks are much more like spoken word performances than sung pieces. Why did you decide to approach vocals in this way?

I don’t avoid singing on this album, in 'Atmospheres Touch' you hear my singing processed with three different vocoders, but a percentage of my unprocessed voice is still present. In the track 'Analogue Mountains' I’m singing too, in microtonal shifts.

On the other hand, the pieces that feel more like “spoken text” came from a necessity to explore confrontation in performance and to write more thoughtful pieces of poetry.

Those vocal tracks also tend to be far more percussive than the other tracks on the album, with your voice often being paired with more mechanical or metallic sounds. Was there a reason behind this pairing?

No reason, I guess I just liked how the voice sounded with these processes, how it was transformed, how it was generating pulses.

There seems to be a greater emphasis on giving the sounds on this album space. I feel that unlike your previous albums there’s less layering of instruments, with often just one or two musical motifs happening at a time. Why did you decide to structure your songs like this?

I wanted to create sounds that are rather “efficient” live, that with a simple gesture, or trigger, I can generate the main elements of the pieces. As I was recording, I thought this economy made sense, I was satisfied not filling out every space.

You used to be a geotechnical engineer and Anticlines seems to be the first album you’ve made that references this past. Would you say that your previous profession had a sizeable influence on this record, and more so than the others you’ve released?

I have referenced themes from geology in my past albums. For example, the song 'Batolith' on the album Commotus, the lyrics are written as a metaphor for this kind of geological formation. But, it’s true it is more embedded all over this new album. I’ve just been trying to make sense of my former studies and how can I incorporate that into my work.

For me, I feel this album explores a tension between the personal and impersonal, the familiar and the alien. Was this something you wanted to explore in the album?

Definitely, the lyrics are written around ideas of where the self ends or stops affecting, crossing, juxtaposing the other, and how the alien is trying to deliver a voice.

For the live shows you’ve hinted at plans to stage an “uninterrupted configuration…a kind of alienated lecture”. Can you provide a bit more detail about what audiences can expect?

I like to make continuous sets, merging different pieces together. The “lecture” format is a metaphor I like to use because the lyrics and the way I am performing with my voice feels more like a professor doing some kind of lecture that’s alienated by a music performance. Yet, I don’t know if this gives any hints as to what to expect, every space and situation would suggest something different.

Finally, a portion of sales of this album on Bandcamp are being donated to Tierra Digna. Could you tell me a bit more about this charity and why you chose to support it?

Tierra Digna works in defending territories, life, and the culture of the communities in Colombia that are affected by processes of extractivism. One example is the complex case around the Atrato river, a good read about this subject is here.

Lucrecia Dalt will play Cafe Oto on Saturday 2nd June