Since 2014, Lakshmi Ramgopal’s work has transformed from explorations of electro-ambient pop idioms into expansive performance and installation work that tells luminous, complex stories. Her debut EP Migration garnered praise from Noisey, Chicago Tribune, and Public Radio International’s The World for its alchemy of synths, guitar drones, catchy beats, and Carnatic improvisatory techniques. A European tour with an appearance at Leipzig’s Wave-Gotik Treffen followed, along with performances at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and NYU. In 2015, while completing a PhD as a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, she teamed up with Paula Matthusen to create “Prex Gemina,” a sound installation for the AAR’s show Cinque Mostre.
In the years since Migration’s release and the death of her maternal grandmother, Ramgopal has begun to confront herself with a newfound fragility as she turns to atavistic questions of motherhood and memory. Her installation “Maalai,” which she showed at Chicago’s Comfort Station for The POWER Project last year and which reappears this summer at the Ukrainian Institute for Modern Art, explores the histories of women in her family through real and fabricated audiovisual archival material. This, along with an appearance at the 50th anniversary celebrations for MCA Chicago, accompany multidisciplinary ensemble shows. They herald a shift in Ramgopal’s storytelling—one that eschews cold electronic washes and embraces the warmth of the sruti box, unprocessed vocals, and performance art and dance.
These journeys find home in Ramgopal’s follow-up to Migration, which drops later this year. A study in the search for renewal after wrenching personal loss, despair and hope mingle in this upcoming release. In Lykanthea is the eternal possibility of transformation and rebirth.