Karima Walker preps new LP ‘Waking the Dreaming Body’ (watch two videos)
Tucson, Arizona musician Karima Walker will follow 2017's Hands in Our Names with a new album, Waking the Dreaming Body, on February 26 via Orindal Records/Keeled Scales (click the label links to pre-order). The first single she released was the gorgeous, Grouper-esque ambient pop of "Reconstellated," and we're now premiering the 13-minute drone of second single "Horizon, Harbor Resonance." Here's what Karima says about it:
I have performed parts of "Horizon, Harbor Resonance" live for a couple years now, the piece initially developed after my last record. There’s a large cathartic rain that falls a couple times and stands as a kind of threshold for me during live shows. I have been obsessed with waves and tsunamis for the past few years (Harbor Resonance is an effect that happens during a tsunami, where the force of the wave is magnified when it’s contained) and this song was a way of working through that obsession.
The video traces the Rio Grande river valley across the New Mexico Colorado border. Touring in the western US, on these long drives, I would enter a kind of altered state, watching the landscape change over many hours. This particular region stayed with me, and ended up inspiring large parts of the record and "Horizon, Harbor Resonance" especially. I remember passing San Antonio mountain for the first time. It’s the mountain you see toward the end of the video. It’s unattached to any range (a friend recently told me that it is the largest free standing mountain in the continental US), and rises up out of the desert as you leave New Mexico. It’s massive and takes a while to pass, marking the beginning of the San Juan Mountains.
I wanted to share this special way of seeing with people, to stretch and compress time like in a dream, the way mountains will sometimes move like water as you move through a landscape over the course of a day, and how our experience changes when the ‘eye’ is steady or hand held. These ways of seeing change our perception and experience, and so too our participation in a place and our access and connection to it.
Karima also had this to say about the album overall:
I wanted these songs to stand alone as complete worlds, and this required a shift in my usual way of writing. I found myself trying to escape from an excess of interiority by exploring outward, by thinking about the mirroring that happens when you seek connection to others and to the natural world—when you try to bring the outside in. I sought to make arrangements that swell at certain moments and barely hold together at others, moving with my breath and other rhythms connecting my body to the natural world. Ultimately, I was seeking to draw myself out, to reconstruct my personal narrative.
I see myself as an in between person I guess. Though I haven't very explicitly brought my own personal history into my music, I think it's there, and it continues to show up in its own ways and time. I am Arab, half North African/Tunisian on my mother's side, but was raised in a very white context, with a lot of white passing privilege, especially as I've gotten older. My mom came to California as an immigrant to this country after marrying my dad in the rural village where she grew up. She came to Los Angeles and was working at McDonald’s and different Mediterranean restaurants around the city, and was kind of discovered at one of these jobs. The singer didn't show up one night, so her coworkers told her to sing a couple songs she knew. She only knew three by heart and she sang them over and over again that night. That was the beginning of her career, and she has worked as a singer in Europe and North Africa for over twenty years now. She's like a jukebox for the Arab diaspora and beyond. I didn't grow up with her, though, knew almost nothing about her, except that she was Tunisian and was a singer and that she left when I was little. I think that planted a seed in me, even though what I do is very different from her idea of being a singer. She has this rich full big voice, she listens to my records and then sits me down and says, "You know Whitney Houston, right? Why don't you sing like her?" The difference in what we do is laughably different! But my journey into making music was so different. I kept falling in love with musicians and artists for a while before I realized that maybe I wanted to be so close to these people because they were doing something that resonated deeply in me. So there's a way in which making music has been a way for me to overcome divides that I couldn't quite articulate in other ways. Maternal lineage, intimacy and connection, but also, with this record, attempting to overcome my own internal divides.
Watch the video for both singles below...
4. Window I
5. Window II
6. Horizon, Harbor Resonance
7. Waking the Dreaming Body
8. For Heddi