ALBUM REVIEW: IAMEVE – ‘Archetype’

IAMEVE’s immersive LP is boundless and necessary during these times of strange.

By JD Brant

Mamas in Music co-founder and indie electronic musician Tiff Randol (IAMEVE) learned that, as a new mother, sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to let go. “As a mother, I have learned that there are times to hold my screaming toddler no matter what, so he knows he isn’t alone, and there are times I lovingly walk away to give him space to work through it,” she said in an interview with Mundane Mag. Letting go of control, instead of seeking more of it, is a practice difficult to master in both motherhood and with others. It is this notion that makes the mama in music’s 6-track LP, “Archetype,” so special.

Think of the project as an orchestral tethering and untethering to our own planets, not just mother earth, but the planets we move around in our individual universes. We are in constant negotiation with our contracts on earth. If we aren’t sure of what’s good for us, how will we know what’s good for others? It’s this finding ourselves that allows us to accept others, and “Archetype” is a safe space for doing that.

Inspired by the stories of women throughout history and the human psyche, IAMEVE, who also scores music for TV and film and who was previously a guest vocalist for Moby, creates an immersive experience through her audio and visual work. Her award-winning five-minute film “Starman” is an exploration of life and matter through love’s eyes. While watching, viewers might come to expect a shakedown or turning point in this romantic fantasy, but there is nothing of the sort. IAMEVE and her star-crossed lover are pulled together by the universe, something of a Guillermo Del Toro reference to the mute woman and lab-imprisoned sea creature’s relationship in the 2017 film, The Shape of Water, except with fewer villains to ward off because both players know themselves.  

In our own worlds, villains can be outside of our control. They can be political messaging, advertisements, telling us how to think and feel, but it’s up to us to take care of our minds and spirits so that we can tell the difference between fact and fiction. Just as multiple selves of the artist are split onto screen in her “Starman” film, fragmented identities are also present on her new LP and command most of her story. The video for “Raindrops” takes viewers on a tour to find their interconnected qualities, and in the video for “Unnerving,” the multiple selves re-emerge, ending with a portrait of mother and child against the music. 

IAMEVE’s electronic fingerprint brings something new and exciting to the genre of trip hop for fans, but her body of work also presents as a think piece for those women living in duality. IAMEVE’s motivation for creating her mamas in music foundation is inspired by a career-altering event that happens more times than we’d like to admit. After discovering the musician was pregnant, her label released her from her contract. ‘Archetype’ is her new trajectory, a picking up of the pieces to give meaning into new art, something many of us will do over and over again in our own careers and relationships. 

Listen to ‘Archetype’ on Spotify.

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