Born in Belgrade, raised in Italy and based in Berlin, Karla Hajman aka Stereochemistry is an eclectic and multi-talented artist who left her PhD in Experimental Audiology to dedicate herself to human ears from another perspective. She boasts collaborations with indie, techno and funk legends such as Jason Rubal (Amanda Palmer, Dresden Dolls), Steven Rutter of B12 and George Clinton’s P-FUNK themselves. She is well acquainted with the guitar, piano, ukulele, violin bow and a loop station, which she uses to captivate and titillate her audiences – live or on record. As a musician, vocalist and lyricist, Stereochemistry is in a solid place in terms of mastery.
Love for music is a peculiar thing. That love enables you to appreciate many different genres and styles, from those that fall into an audio or technical acclaim, to those that just are very enticingly brilliant. Stereochemistry is a perfect example or the second category.
In a way, listening to “Echo Love”, the second single taken from the “Harlequin EP” was a different experience all-together, but not due to discomfort or annoyance. To the contrary, this listen is very accessible, and very easy on the ears. Apart from being totally fascinating.
Karla Hajman has that special something in her voice. The way it portrays a very baroque and soul-like essence is something that easily draws you in. “Echo Love” is one of those listening experiences that is just generally embracing. It isn’t hard to get into, it boosts a positive sound, and it’s really beguiling.
The track feels naturally spiritual, and Stereochemistry seems very comfortable as she immerses herself into the song. I say ‘immerses’, because she doesn’t simply sing her song, she actually becomes a part of them. “Echo Love” is described as: “A reflection on death being just a door, rather than a border. A realization that the relationships with our dearest souls persists, regardless of where we are.”
From time to time artists arrive on the music scene who come to personify a particular style. Sometimes it’s because they invented it, or often because they popularized it. Karla Hajman is in the process of doing both on “Echo Love”. It’s one of those rare perfect songs where the narrative and atmosphere coalesces perfectly, leaving almost no room for improvement.
A gorgeous sonic and lyrical exploration that takes Stereochemistry’s already impressive talents to a new plateau. “Echo Love” is never static. This is a song that moves forward with slow, stealthy deliberation. It swells and builds, with alluring strings and sonic templates that keep shifting into something new. Nothing ever feels hurried or rushed.
Karla Hajman is a woman working through the delicate shades of her own emotions at a graceful, dreamy pace on “Echo Love”. And she drags us along for a wistful ride in both the audio version, and the visual in support of the song, directed by Alexander Klebe. The beautifully shot video and stunning costumes, no doubt enhances the song’s narrative and overall mood.
And while the music aims to please, it does so on the level of a high common denominator, not the lowest. It never panders. And it dares to surprise as it tiptoes across genre lines. It takes considerable self-assurance and control to keep things this deceptively simple and deeply touching.