Kat Duma

Real Life
April 21 2023

  1. Real Life
  2. Land & Sea & Sky
  3. System
  4. Fated
  5. So Long
  6. Ana
  7. Flame
  8. Sun Rise

In contrast to its title, Real Life seems to wander effortlessly in and out like a fog falling, and lifting. In this sense the title is more of a question: what is real life? What’s outside of it?

Vinyl / T Shirt

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Kat Duma — 

“A voice so soothing it sounds like a lullaby.”
(METAL Magazine)

“Between the tranquil complexities of her lyrics and her ethereal production, throughout her music, Kat Duma transports listeners to a hypnotic space.“
(Notion Magazine)

“Quickly making a name for herself as singular talent bound by no genre boundaries or expectations.”
(DUMMY Magazine)

“Drifting layers of synthetic sound playing with notions of ‘reality’ as filtered through a highly personal lens.“ (CLASH Magazine)

The cover art to Kat Duma’s Real Life brings to mind the saints of religious iconography, artworks which would have adorned the hallways of Duma’s childhood home in Belgrade. The figures act as a source of guidance amidst solitude, much like song. Emblazoned here not in gold but rather a ghostly glaze, Duma’s image is similarly haunting. The cover doesn’t so much represent divinity as gold once did, but a new, post-internet quest for spiritual fulfillment.

In this way, the artwork introduces the key themes of Real Life. An opposition to darkness permeates  Duma’s lyrics and the warmth of her production. Her commitment to the pursuit of levity mirrors the universal religious quest by posing the question - is it too much to ask? In a world where anxious, post-pandemic paranoia dominates, the result is both captivating and hypnotic.

Following on the promises of lead-up singles, 2021’s stand-alone tracks Daydream, and System (reinvisioned for the album), Real Life expands on Duma’s singular ability to produce work that wrestles with the balance between the material world - the body, the planet - and the unattainable, the spectral: Heaven? Love? Nature vs Supernature. The 8 tracks on Real Life are steeping in these contradictions.

Lyrically, Duma’s writing is in a constant exploration between the instinctual drive towards intimacy and the ever-intangible possibility of escape. The closing lines of the album’s title track point to its larger theme:

“Slip into wonder, breathe in the view
Stare at the sun, be there soon”

Perhaps one of the most perplexing elements of the record lies in the only cover version featured with a nearly unrecognizable take on The Pixie’s 1990 track, Ana. Duma eschews Frank Black’s unmistakable twang and clomp for a feather-light production that wanders into more ambient territory - a testament to the limitless realms explored on Duma’s genre-bending debut.

The album’s closing track, Sun Rise, serves as a sort of prologue to the other songs, where Duma’s labyrinth-like lyrics and song structures recede slightly, taking on a form that could trail on forever. The song stutters and swivels into what feels like a sketchy radio transmission beckoning you onwards to another place - but where?

In contrast to its title, Real Life seems to wander effortlessly in and out like a fog falling, and lifting. In this sense the title is more of a question: what is real life? What’s outside of it? One could say these are love songs to life itself. Lost in rapturous longing while more menacing forces loom…like the world burning in the distance behind a crystal clear lake, like being in love, like real life.

Duma tangled out her approach to playing live while touring in a band in 2015, but it wasn’t until her solo debut the following year, opening for Hype Williams’ Inga Copeland, that she began to realize her true artistic vision. She has since shared the stage with other genre-defying artists such as Yves Tumor, Tirzah, Kedr Livanskiy and has performed at events with MUTEK, NXNE, POP Montreal, Cooper Cole Gallery, and Night Gallery, among others.

As a DJ, she has recorded sets for NTS Radio, The Lot Radio in NYC, Invisible City in Toronto, Jerome Mixfiles, and fashion showroom L’Oeuvre. She has released original music with Cultivated Sound (NYC), Halocline Trance (Toronto) and “Never a Land Without People”, an on-going charity compilation. This year, she and Johnny Jewel co-produced a song for Talvi (of Prince Innocence). “The Day We Met Never Ended For Me” was released as a part of Italians Do It Better’s compilation series, After Dark.

Over the years, her varied and restless musical explorations have ranged from noise-based, industrial leaning work through to hazy, ambient compositions. Always eager to experiment with her sound, her current work finds her settling into a dub and folk influenced atmosphere which aims to push the boundaries of what we consider pop. Having recently embraced her real name Kat Duma as her artist moniker, she is currently producing her first full-length album Real Life, set to be released April 21st, 2023 via DMY.