The Minneapolis arty-electro trio Digitata quickly became beloved due to its dark electronic experiments and the amazing, passionate and soaring vocals of Maggie Morrison with muti-instrumentalist Ryan Olson and Drew Christopherson. After a hiatus of sorts, Morrison joined Grant Cutler and started a new downbeat project Lookbook, which also became toast of the town.
Digitata got together for 4 days and came out with Art Work Pays, 9 new tracks that make up the follow-up to their 2006′ s II Daggers. Art Work Pays was recorded this spring at the home of Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Like Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors without the layered vocals, Digitata are quirky and synth heavy with futuristic programming full of laptop tricks and emotionally captivating vocals.
On the opening track, the brooding ‘Over Me’, Morrison sings against loops,hand claps, and snappy drums: ‘The distance is mine, to cover in time…it’s over me’. ‘Art Work Pays’ is a delicate lullaby, producing swirling noises of a drug induced haze. Meanwhile, the stylish, sexy yearning of ‘Weak Teeth’ is a strong contender for college radio.
The urgency of both ‘Leave It Alone’ and ‘Killer Be Killed’ keeps the records’ uptempo energy. ‘Saw Dust City’ named after the studio where they recorded could be a Santogold b-side. The instrumental ‘podcast (the song)’ sounds like later day Massive Attack. ‘Take Your Money’ is a quirky almost Minneapolis-funk inspired slice of electro, complete with bleeps and tweaks. The album closes with the uptempo jaunt ‘Mbaby’ which echoes Yeah Yeah Yeahs Karen O.’s prettier, softer tracks of It’s Blitz!, the poppy track is also haunting with a 4AD, post-goth feel, though not as dark.
Digitata’s marriage of beats and loops are in harmony with the emotionally charged vocals of siren Morrison whose voice is bittersweet and simultaneously joyful. Art Work Pays deliver theme music for art school dropouts who succeed at making great art.
Download Digitata-‘Weak Teeth’