The idea of spiritual experiences on the dance floor is nothing new. We've all heard, if not felt, that the club can be "church." But Devi's allusions to spirituality in her art are more complicated. On the one hand, she uses its ancient practices to guide her persona; on the other, she subverts its symbols with grotesque videos and live performances, made in collaboration with the Chinese artist Tianzhuo Chen. Like puzzle pieces, themes of enlightenment pop up in track titles, liner notes and a promotional video game. It's a vague depiction of Eastern mysticism—and it could all seem like a sham—but Devi's music fits the aesthetic.
Chakras aside, DNA Feelings, the artist's second album for Houndstooth, is an otherworldly listen. There are trance arps, ethereal textures and beats that appear in mercurial bursts. Compared with the record before it, this one is less anxious and more eloquent, never overcompensating with brutal sounds in search of bodily sensation. The lighter, more spacious approach lets Devi's meditative mood build smoothly across the album. "DNA ☤ ∞" and "Intentional Dreams" sound like futuristic elegies, so blissful are Devi's warped vocals atop a pool of iridescent and rippling synths. "Aetherave," with its vaporous trance, starts the ascent to "Inner State Of Alchemy"—the peak track that zig-zags between clattering rhythms and pockets drenched in celestial reverb. By the closer, "Cell Stems Spa," things are hushed again, its tempo as sedated as a deep breath.
The production style gives DNA Feelings its body high, but Devi's voice is a guide for the mind. Throughout, Devi, who's a classically trained soprano, uses digital tools to mutate her singing into fascinating textures and notes. But there are also fleeting traces of lyricism, which infuse the album with a mystical kind of poetry. On "Hyperlands," the only decipherable line is, "Create love, trance, ecstasy," pitched down into a molten gurgle that sounds out of the ancient depths. "Dislocation Of The Alpha" crawls behind Devi as she creaks, "I love it when you change"—not only a reference to multiple realities, but a parallel for her manipulated singing, which embodies countless forms across the album. "Time (Tool)" uses a Siri-style voice to recite a passage on infinite dimensions. On the next track, its teachings are repurposed amid a haunting fog made from Devi's stretched vocals. As DNA Feelings dissolves to a close, a quiet kind of power lingers on.