Song of the Week: ‘Body of Water’ by Dolphin Midwives

The Portland producer’s latest places her in conversation with avant-pop freaks like Björk and FKA twigs.

By Conner Reed September 24, 2021

Image: Beacon Sound

Ever wonder what kind of music Björk might make if she lived under the sea and whispered more? How FKA twigs would sound if she was somehow less interested in mainstream appeal? Us too, obviously. Now we have our answer.

Harpist/composer Sage Fisher, who records as Dolphin Midwives, dropped her first LP Liminal Garden in late 2019 on Portland ambient label Beacon Sound. It was an intoxicating, challenging collection, all pretty melodies disrupted by foreboding electronic noise or vice-versa. Her followup, July's Body of Water, is a decisive step toward pop, which isn't saying much—these songs ripple and gurgle and feature just as many chopped-up loops as Fisher's debut. The difference is the presence of her voice.

On the title track, it's the first thing we hear: "See how the water flows down to the lowest point / My body is made of water," she nearly chants, her voice doubled and twisted, before chimes welcome in a thudding drum machine. Then, thrillingly, she ratchets up the tension by cranking the bass, littering the back of the mix with clicks and hisses, and tossing in the sounds of crashing waves. We don't hear her trademark harp for a minute and a half, and it comes as an exhale, a patch of green in the otherwise chrome, spartan sonics.

In the world of avant-pop, "Body of Water" is as interesting as anything Björk confidant Arca is up to, and while the parent album is best consumed as a whole, it's one of a handful of tracks that could break off into a playlist. Not like, a dinner party playlist, though. Something occult.

Check out the full track below, and click through to Bandcamp to hear the rest of the LP:  

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