Kinlaw is a composer, choreographer, and artist focusing on empathic potential and agency developed by performance through audio, dance, and sculptural installation. Known for solo works and productions with as many as two-hundred performers, she studies themes of power, memory, trauma, and connection. Her performances have been featured in institutions like MoMA and MoMA PS1 (video), Pioneer Works, Mana Contemporary, National Sawdust, and Knockdown Center. Kinlaw is releasing her first solo record in January 2021 with Bayonet Records.
Her debut record, ‘The Tipping Scale’ is a gorgeously sung cycle of songs that mix deeply personal lyrics with universal themes; ornate pop flourishes, dancefloor ruminations, and airtight production overlap with a refined, artistic compositional sensibility. Kinlaw is a smart, conceptual writer, one not afraid to explore deep emotions like loss, regret, and confusion, alongside strength, identity, and change. She explains that ‘The Tipping Scale’ is an ideal metaphor for the record, the idea of an ever-present slipping in and out of change, and an acceptance of this kind of change. On it, she unravels intimate memories and tries to learn from them. As you listen to her songs and decode her words, you realize she’s not just buildingsongs, she’s also creating a home—where painful thoughts of the past can exist within the present—as well as an entirely new, unflinching universe.
This universe she created is not metaphorical—it’s, in fact, very real. Kinlaw, who often works with gesture and movement as a writing tool, found ‘The Tipping Scale’ unifying her multidisciplinary practice. She found it by building a real world. As she wrote, with the goal of finding human entry points for storytelling that felt authentic and honest to her practice, she often saw the music relating to motion. “I would start with a gesture and let it build into something until a memory attached itself to it,” she explains. “The memory would become a story and the story would reveal itself as something important that needed to be expressed in this album.” This works, too, for the lyrical process, where harder and less smooth gestures would represent consonants, and smooth, flowing movements would become vowels. She found the same thing happening with melodic lines and key changes. This is a record that jolts between the corporeal and the psychological, drawn from a flailing body, anchored by inconvenient truths.