Holly Herndon Moonlights in Techno

Stanford grad student produces electronic music

Electronic composer Holly Herndon has evolved from her days writing short pieces as an MFA candidate at Mills College to releasing an acclaimed electronic album, Movement, while working on a doctorate at Stanford University. Released last fall, Movement is deliberately elliptical as Herndon builds on vocal fragments and computerized sound collages, yet delivers emotional payoffs on tracks like “Fade,” which peaks into a throbbing club anthem.

“On Movement, there’s one dance track, and then there’s one super experimental track, but that’s what my life playlist looks like anyway. Most people are eclectic these days,” she told Pitchfork, which awarded Movement an honorable mention for one of the best albums of 2012.

This means that Herndon’s upcoming performance at San Francisco’s Public Works on Feb. 14 will probably traverse the familiar world of techno as well as, hopefully, more enigmatic styles like IDM and musique concrète. She’s opening for Nguzunguzu, an L.A. duo that traffic in its own brand of dubby bass music and electronic weirdness. The event is hosted by local promoters Future Perfect.

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