Local Music Reviews
time is being
Jill Whit = Phoebe Bridgers + Marina Allen
Salt Lake City musician Jill Whit’s latest work, time is being, offers listeners the chance to hear true emotive lyricism. Taking the form of lush and lucid prose, Whit’s songs open the door to her psyche. The album feels incredibly personal and leaves you feeling warm and soothed. Whit’s vocals are soft, and her speaking voice is even more comforting. Within time is being, you’ll find 10 tracks of shushed synth beats and buzzing ambient noise.
The first track, “Touchless,” is chock-full of literary imagery and leaves you with the notion of feeling “touchless” at a length of six feet apart. In an obvious nod toward the past year’s quarantine in efforts to maintain physical distance, Whit brings up this topic of being alone and discovering oneself delicately, yet firmly, and continues to hold it by the neck for the remainder of time is being. Whit’s Bandcamp recounts her recording process, stating, “The album was written during the long days of the pandemic in 2020, when, like many others, [Whit] found herself spending more time alone than ever before.” She continues these expressions, explaining how time is being is an exploration of the body and its physical and emotional movements. After a repetition of the phrase “touchless,” the song plays out on synthetic beats and muddled noise—it left me restless and uneasy as similar quarantine-related feelings shrouded me again.
The following track, “Internet Cowboy,” is sweet and provides a pleasant taste with the message of “every cowboy needs a cowgirl.” Whit sings, “Your touch is like a sunrise / The language of life and token of what is real / Your love is so simple.” Amid times of dread, Whit reflects and offers satisfaction in the small, significant portions of life that make it worth it to be alive. This feeling is then continued in the next track, “Maybe Means No,” where Whit speaks as someone who needs convincing. The lyrics go on as reminders to remember the moments and items of life that help us continue forward—small things like the remembrance to “enjoy boredom” and “crave purpose” and to “build a new relationship with yourself” feel especially potent during moments of quarantine and isolation.
“Quarantine” is a track void of lyrics, which makes perfect sense as for many of us, the experience of quarantine meant a lack of talking; a lack of action and movement. Sometimes when you’re alone and have all of the time in the world, things become too quiet to actually make any progress. Whit follows this with “Real Silence,” where she sings “Silence, real silence / That is all stars can say” and conceptualizes the feeling of being alone with the hope that we “find the antidote.” Though this track—both hopeful and bleak—reminds us of the silence we find ourselves in. The following “I Always Get Lucky With You” sheds a light on how our loved ones can help us make noise.
To end time is being, we find ourselves entering the track “A Whisper Sent High” with the optimistic sound of twinkling and Whit wading her feet through the water. She says, “Set sail and submit to / Immortality / I sink / I sink / I wade my feet.” With this final submission, the album seems to end on a hopeful tune. This final spoken track reminds listeners of inevitability, yet Whit manages to do so in a way that brings peace. Among the 10 tracks on the album, many emote in this way; the songs bring duality in such that you can hear uncomfortability, but be reminded to keep moving forward.
Check out Jill Whit on the common streaming services as well as her art and music on her Instagram @jillwhitart. If you are still wrestling with some of the darker moments of quarantine, let Jill Whit serenade you out of it and find peace and light in the world’s new consciousness. –Jamie Christensen