Songs We Love: Yohuna, 'The Moon Hangs In The Sky Like Nothing Hangs In The Sky' Songwriter Johanne Swanson splits the difference between dreamy and dirge in a track rich with moments of intimacy.

Songs We Love: Yohuna, 'The Moon Hangs In The Sky Like Nothing Hangs In The Sky'

Yohuna. Brian Vu /Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Brian Vu /Courtesy of the artist

Yohuna.

Brian Vu /Courtesy of the artist

Yohuna, the project of songwriter Johanne Swanson, began out of a sense of displacement. After moving to New Mexico (where she knew no one) armed with an old Casio, Swanson started writing and releasing her dreamy, synth-laden pop as Yohuna. As she kept moving — to Los Angeles, Wisconsin and Berlin — her music grew more complex and layered, thanks in part to her time spent learning about synthesizers, oscillators and hardware in Berlin's synth-pop scene. After a self-released EP and a string of stray tracks, Patientness is Yohuna's first proper album, with nine songs that center on layers upon layers of Swanson's ethereal vocals and synthesizers. It also features contributions from friends: Adelyn Strei's guitars and vocals, drums from Felix Walworth of Told Slant, mellotron from Emily Sprague of Florist and production by Owen Pallett all contribute to the album's gentle, warm sound.

Swanson explicitly describes the concept of "patientness" in the album's final track, which takes the invented word as its name. But the idea is on full display throughout the album, in moments of measured delivery and hazy, subdued soundscapes. In "The Moon Hangs In The Sky Like Nothing Hangs In The Sky," Swanson delves deep into this mentality, splitting the difference between dreamy and dirge. Guitars crunch over subdued drums; some synthesizers whirl while others meditate on mellow riffs. And despite being nearly buried under layers of sound, Swanson's words still glimmer at the song's surface. Rich with natural imagery and moments of intimacy, her lyrics tell of deliberately waiting in the balance between mourning the past and hoping for the future. Her voice is yearning, but knowing. It's not quite patient, but it's something close.

Patientness comes out Sept. 9 on Orchid Tapes.