Reflections on Light of a Strange Day 

As these summer months are ending and fall approaches, you may find yourself disillusioned by that summer pop hit that enabled you to excuse your impulsive actions and let your problems be whisked away by simple four-on-the-floor beats- but perhaps it’s time to kiss summer goodbye and face reality, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hite, formerly known as Julia Easterlin, can ease you back into emotional vulnerability with her raw, acoustic-based project, Light Of A Strange Day.

Hite explores loss, love, and the haunting aftermath of relationships.  A departure from her previous work with loops and electronic sounds, on this latest project, she experiments with more stripped-down music. Hite brings her ethereal, yet haunting voice throughout the album, while her sharp poignant lyrics give a platform for her ominous, yet beautiful storytelling and imagery.

The album immerses you in honesty and vulnerability. The opening to the song, “Eliza Jane”, named after her sister, is a haunting folk sound rooted in southern Appalachian influences and introduces the album’s evocative emotions. Light of Strange Day was partially recorded during a particularly isolating blizzard in New York City, which perhaps partially explains the feelings of inner turmoil, despair, and love found throughout its songs.

Hite – Light of a Strange Day album cover artwork.

The record’s primarily acoustic textures add to these powerful emotions. The track, “Nocturne” features stirring harmonies and carefully arranged, eerie strings, evoking feelings of dark remorse and loss, while the song, “Light”, driven by the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar, offers wistful and lovelorn lyrics (“I have been here with you once before / and it broke my heart in two”), that resonate in the universal melancholy tied to the dissolution of a relationship. Though not confined to the restrictions of electronic looping, Hite still utilizes the language of carefully layered harmonies throughout the album.  From the more upbeat “Miss You” and “Lockstep” to the stripped-down sounds of “Old Crow” and “Spears”, the album seamlessly flows to create a feeling that is both ambient and tender. The album’s raw emotions are also reflected by the sound bites that Easterlin chose to add to the record, including the sounds of her sniffling, messy tears in the opening of “If You Begin To Notice” and her exasperated under the breath, exclamation of “Fuck” during “Light”.

Hite’s transparent vulnerability allows any listener to relate to the pain and sorrow she expresses. This authentic display of emotional catharsis affirms that sometimes beauty emerges from despair and perhaps comfort can be found in just that.

Listen to Light of a Strange Day here. Also, check out Hite’s live performance of “Nocturne” for Emergent Sounds below.

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