Dear Laika is Isabelle Thorn, a 23-year-old musician from the North Wessex Downs making pop music about (among other things) dreams, time, love, loneliness, and being transgender. Having grown up singing in church choirs and listening to classical music, those influences can still be heard in Izzy’s music now: the rich harmonies of composers such as Messiaen, Finzi and Ravel have left an indelible mark on her own writing, and she freely mutates samples of Bach and Beethoven beyond recognition. Blending both digital and analogue sounds together—Roland Juno 106, prepared piano, distorted field recordings and tape-warped vocals—her resulting work is both intimate and intricate, described in The Wire as “[Julia] Holter’s hybrid bedroom production meeting the hypnagogic synthpop of Games”.After a succession of self-released material, Dear Laika makes her label debut on NNA Tapes and Memorials of Distinction with “Pluperfect Mind” (29th October 2021). A consistent theme of the album is isolation, both from other people and from parts of herself, and the intention to overcome anxieties and reconnect. Pluperfect Mind also chronicles aspects of Izzy’s own transgender experience, from the painful tedium of waiting for hormone treatment to the elation of finally inhabiting a body that feels right. It captures the sense of being cast adrift between an uncomfortable past and an uncertain future, living outside of heteronormativity and caught in “queer time”. Izzy’s mercurial songwriting aims to suspend the perception of time, allowing the listener to inhabit an immersive half-lit world of mystical landscapes, volatile atmospheres and shifting rhythms.