Pitchfork Review Of Women In Technology

Maybe Women in Technology holds up best as a testimony to Duchamp’s notion that the ordinary can be elevated into art. Because of Mishra, the “White Christmas” guy collaborated across centuries with grime trailblazer Wiley, and Prohibition-era trumpet rings out on last year’s pandemic album by UK pop star Dua Lipa, herself a daughter of immigrants. Who knows what’s next? “I feel like I’m the luckiest person alive,” Mishra said in March 2020. He must’ve suspected as much when writing Women in Technology’s future-nostalgic finale, “Once I Flew,” which samples astronauts. “Though it’s easy to forget,” Mishra sings of a past brush with the infinite, “I don’t seem to have managed yet/And I don’t think I ever will.” Imperfect sound can last forever too.

Marc Hogan, Pitchfork

Here’s a very lovely review of Women In Technology by Marc Hogan, part of Pitchfork’s retro series where they review albums they initially missed out on.

It was strange reading this and thinking back to WIT and how I wrote and recorded those songs. Some of them were finished long before ’97, when the album actually came out and some where recorded in a sprint around Crimbo ’96. They all have memories of my old house, old recording room and where my head was back then, recording on a Tascam 688 and monitoring through my beloved Mordaunt Short MS30 monitors.

Each of the songs on WIT is about someone and sometimes that person is me, sometimes an ex-lover, sometimes it’s both in one. All those memories came tumbling back and they’re often unwelcome guests. I’m nearly three decades older now and, like all middle-aged people, my quotidian reality is predicated on shoring up Hoover-dam-sized memory blocks of happier times. It’s really the only way you cope with love and loss in the long term, you employ an internalised mental gymnastics where, as soon as you feel yourself slipping into memories of happier times, you distract yourself immediately.

There are so many happy memories around this album coming out and Your Woman going to number one that are bittersweet now. Honestly, I thought, at thirty, that I was grown up, that I was an adult and had experienced the whole gamut of adult emotions. Ha!

My daily life now is one of immense loneliness. It’s a weight that never stops, it’s a pillow being pressed on my face even in happy moments with friends. I often wake up at three or four a.m. crying and I have to find a way to distract myself long enough to fall back asleep again. It can be exhausting.

Women In Technology and every other piece of music I have made or will make is me as a tiny brown kid going to school in a white town in the 1970s and wondering why everyone, teachers and kids, hate me so much. I understand that because there is no greater autopsychotherapy than being a songwriter. But, sadly, writing songs and understanding things hasn’t equated to a magical catharsis for me. It’s more like quiet ‘aha’ moments where an experience or moment clicks into focus but the whole image remains frustratingly fuzzy. That’s why I keep writing songs.

So, when I look at WIT as an album, as a slice of my life and thoughts there are many things that frustrate me, that I listen to and wince a teeny bit. But I wouldn’t change a second of the album if I could. It’s me, then and I was trying my hardest to reach out, to try to connect and see if anyone else out there was as fucked as I was. It’s an album of questions that I still don’t have the answers to.

November 11, 2021. News.