The title of Katie Dey’s new album seems to mean so little, but actually says quite a lot. Trying to decipher the Melbourne artist’s record title recalls the modern way of dealing with frustration by frantically or listlessly slamming your fingers down on a keyboard just to see something, anything, happen on the screen. The whole thing first feels random, but the gaggle of text on the screen always seems to look something like it did the last time; all the letters seem to fit together in a way that’s hard to explain.
Be it intentional or not, like slamming your fingers down on the keyboard, asdfasdf as an album and a title channels that instinctive headspace: the short guitar strokes on the first half of the opener “don’t be scared” could fit underneath some bemoaned late 90’s R&B vocal while songs like “all on you” and “y o y o” descend into delayed ambient valleys of meticulously arranged and obscure synth pop. Dey remains an elusive figure, at least in terms of her presence on the internet; no Facebook page, 185 tweets, and a what seems to be a very full ask box on Tumblr. She has managed to capture the attention of Warren Hildebrand at Orchid Tapes though, who said he was interested in dropping asdfasdf on tape before all but confirming that it’s bound to happen. The 20-minute album works within a framework that’s both sequenced and arbitrary. With no two songs that sound alike, asdfasdf manages to seamlessly transition between ideas making it 20 minutes of impossibly palpable bliss. It’s streaming in full below.