Cameron Mesirow’s music is the kind of multi-genre brew that’s difficult to categorize. As Ring, her 2010 debut as Glasser, demonstrated, there’s a flair for Tanlines-style tropicalia that informs her dreamy, wide-open sound, but little else in the way of some grand, unifying approach. And while calling Mesirow an “electronic artist” is technically accurate, it’s also misleading: The L.A. singer-songwriter’s organic experiments don’t sound like the result of a studio-bound, hunched-over-the-soundboard architect, but instead a sky-gazing rolling stone possessed by her wanderlust, like Andrew Bird armed with a sequencer. Thus, Interiors is nothing its title implies, but rather, outdoorsy, unstructured, whimsical, and, thanks to Mesirow’s unflagging creativity, wonderfully defiant of conventional labels.
The album invites obvious comparisons to both Björk and Imogen Heap, and while Mesirow’s voice is a dead ringer for the latter, both clearly serve as influences propelling the album’s tracks forward. The word “propelling” is relevant on more than just a figurative level, as Interiors derives its sense of motion primarily from Mesirow’s baroque arrangements of trickling beats and other spindly percussive elements, a technique that can be traced back to Vespertine and Speak for Yourself. Much like the assembly-line structure of Atoms for Peace’s similarly teeming Amok, Mesirow’s latest is a feat of stunning syncopation, its various moving components perfectly administered to mimic a Rube Goldberg machine. To wit, “Dissect” is a cloud of fuzzy synths and electro-harps until its shuffling beat starts up and contextualizes all the once-random notes, revealing a glimmering sonic jigsaw of melodies and rhythms.
Elsewhere, Mesirow has perfected the art of imitation as flattery. Opening track “Shape” is a gorgeous synth-pop tune reminiscent of Björk’s “Hyperballad” and “Headphones,” while “Divide” borrows the plucked, monophonic strings of Chinese folk music, layering them with funkily pulsing drumpads to deliver a kind of mystical and meditative R&B jam. Indeed, Mesirow’s sophomore effort is a busy album with ideas both new and appropriated, but she keeps a strong, steady handle on their complex assemblage, demanding a dozen or so plays before one can fully appreciate its countless tiers of arrangement. But it takes only one listen to realize the album’s title refers not to any physical place, but instead, those intimate mental spaces that contain the ideas that become art and music and other acts of human creativity, spaces that Mesirow taps into with uncommon regularity.