On ‘All Time Stop Now,’ Anna Luisa Petrisko begs you to acknowledge the now

The Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist's latest album is meant to sit in and live in as the music washes over you.
A singer-songwriter from Boston, MA that also writes blogs about music from time to time. A loud and proud as fuck member of the Alt-Black, LGBT and autistic community.

Imagine: you are born with a body that you must take care of and a consciousness that goes way beyond the box it is placed within. As time passes, you are much closer to the body and the soul separating. It is an inevitable fate and one that sends most down a spiraling rabbit hole. But that is not the case for composer, playwright, singer, and songwriter Anna Luisa Petrisko, who manages to turn all of this—questions and all—into performance art.

Multidisciplinary artist and Practical Records founder Petrisko’s music covers recurring themes, ranging from nature to existentialism to proper treatment of the human body. Oftentimes, the genres of choice range from lo-fi synthpop to new age. A new topic Petrisko now tackles is the burden of passing time with her latest album. Petrisko explained on Instagram that All Time Stop Now, inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, is an experimental opera about “a chosen family invoking a spell to stop time and learn how to deal with the fast-paced future.” Said description, therefore, poses the album’s function: to be listened to in a focused state. As far as the music goes, it feels almost reductive to call it “neon-colored” or plain “bright,” but All Time Stop Now is an album that truly fits the tag of “meditative.”

For years, Petrisko has struck that significant balance between new age and pop. Think a blend of Kate Bush and Beach House with a sprinkle of Enya for spice. This album poses no exception to that rule, as she brings the production assistance of avant-pop musician Julius Smack, who also offers lone vocal work on “Forward Motion.”

The title track opens up with luminous keyboard chords and sleigh bells performed cyclically to mimic the effect of a musical spell on the listener. It slowly introduces squelches of noises, with some tension fading in before it all closes. Plenty of songs on the album have that meditation-friendly vibe running through it, but the point is to help you stay in the present. “Feel Free” is a very solid example, as it begins with lone vocals, bells, and the sound of rain blooming into a whirlwind of fragrant synths and echolalic singing. Meanwhile, “Peace is a House” is a love song that boasts sturdy bass drums and rhythmic synths underneath lyrics speaking to a potential partner or member of one’s “chosen family.” “I choose you, I choose you,” sings Petrisko in an inviting and relaxed state. 

However, just because the album encourages calmness does not mean she isn’t willing to acknowledge the discomfort of the future head-on. In “Willingness to Try,” Petrisko encourages listeners to embrace change in the world because, as she opens, “like it or not, change is coming for us all.” It’s here that Petrisko’s view on the passing of time isn’t to inspire fear but to encourage making each bit of time count for something—not to one’s own detriment, of course. The closing song, “When Will We Rest,” even finds herself questioning our refusal to rest and break from the crazy world.” After asking, “When is our time / to rest?” in a closing spoken word piece, the song closes with three minutes of swirling, rumbling liquid layers of synths that create a life of their own before eventually fading into nothing.

In her Bandcamp bio, Petrisko points out how technology use is also a cause of the world’s frantic state. She states, “When technological development moves faster than ever against the backdrop of social and environmental disorder, All Time Stop Now asks us to slow down and listen.” This album asks you to take your time, sit with the music, live in the music, and let the words penetrate or the music wash over you as you do—and once the album is over, never waste what time is in your grasp.

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