Album Review: Karima Walker – ‘Waking the Dreaming Body’

Posted: by The Editor

The landscape of Karima Walker’s Waking the Dreaming Body, out February 26 and co-released by Orindal Records and Keeled Scales, is vast, wind-worn and innately affecting. Oscillating between blazing, ambient ruminations and Americana-tinged songwriting, Walker reconciles a sense of separateness within the whole of herself, leaning into questions of time, place and memory as she casts both shadow and light with the use of synthesizers and guitar.

Throughout Waking, reflections on self, movement, and disconnection fall into each other like night and day, cultivating a mirroring effect as Walker reaches towards natural forms and figures with longing and reverence. The valleys of Walker’s native Arizona are on full display, and dried cactus blooms, mountains and rivers are all teachers, mirrors and guides.

In her lyrics, Walker often seeks to imbue the present with meaning by making sense of the past — “I know where I am but I can’t tell where I started,” and finds resilience in seeing her internal struggles mirrored in the natural world — “the earth moves like water from the inside of this airplane / and I guess I do too whenever I’m lost and / I’m afraid of where I am and where I’m going.

Waking is a spiritual container for the seasons of searching and unease that we encounter in our lives. It’s a wholly complete and graceful, intuitive work that provides space for one to see these experiences as shared and impermanent, rather than viewing them as fracturing and entirely isolating. Waking often conjures the liminal space between sleep and waking life, where sense is made through feeling rather than fact, recalibrating the social and cultural compass that so often asks (or requires) that we turn away from our inner knowing.

Though the season weathered on Waking is summer, there are moments that feel particularly wintry and desolate. Waking the Dreaming Body reminds us that winters, the internal state and the natural kind, are their own kind of desert — the past is behind us while we lay in wait, for a rain that eventually will fall, and a springtime that always comes, too.

Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great /Phenomenal

Emma Bowers | @emmaebowers

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