Berlin-Based South African artist Lucy Kruger is ready to release her latest album.
“Teen Tapes (for performing your own stunts)” is a culmination of the Tapes Trilogy.
In June last year, she released the third Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys album, “Transit Tapes (for women who move furniture around)”, which served as a follow up to her 2019 release, “Sleeping Tapes for Some Girls”.
Since first embarking on the very specific process of recording music – with an early album that she recorded soon after finishing her arts degree in the Eastern Cape town of Grahamstown – Kruger has approached her artistry with the care of an archaeologist seeking all the interwoven elements that make up the historical whole.
Whether the now finite suite of albums with André Leo as Medicine Boy (More Knives, 2014; Kinda Like Electricity, 2016; Lower, 2018; Take Me With You When You Disappear, 2020), or her solo work, Kruger has engaged in a slow, steady exploration of what it takes to make music that’s universal, that endures, that draws listeners in, even after countless listens.
“I think that what I am able to offer as an artist is a detailed expression of my experience, for although the situation may feel unique to me, the feelings are universal.
“Giving them a sound and shape validates and creates space for those feelings, allowing listeners to feel seen and less alone, even at a distance. Even in the isolation of a bedroom. Especially in the isolation of a bedroom,” said Kruger.
Kruger references the bedroom, because it was this most intimate of spaces that gave her the profound realisation that she now brings to all her work.
“Albums capture a moment in time in the life of a band or musician. Listeners hopefully stumble upon those albums when they’re in need of stepping into that world, or having that world mirrored back at them.”
Kruger herself stumbled on this revelation when she contemplated what to do with the songs she wrote in her Cape Town bedroom in the year before relocating to Berlin in 2018.
“Over the time of writing I was having difficulty falling asleep at night, or I would fall asleep but wake in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back to sleep,” she recalls.
“I would put my headphones on in bed and listen to music, mostly by women musicians.
“The songs and sounds I was listening to became my bedtime stories, both speaking to things that I was experiencing, as well as soothing me with their sounds and growing familiarity.”
At first unsure whether to take the songs into the recording studio, Kruger also knew that when she moved to Berlin, they might not have the same relevance for her; that she risked wanting to slip loose from them forever as that time of sleeplessness and isolation receded.
“At that moment I understood that an album is not so much a representation of me as an artist as it is of a specific time – and that it exists to give others the sense of comfort I got from writing the songs on it.”
“Teen Tapes” is available from April 8.