Recorded at home as improvised sessions, the album is a fluid extrapolation of her thoughts, worries, and stresses, later trimmed down and reformatted into songs. Chami treats her voice like an instrument that breathes calm into interwoven electronic parts, often leaning into vowels instead of phrases, particularly the tall, forward sound of “i” words like “time,” “find,” and “decide.” Performed entirely by Chami and produced by Cooper Crain (Bitchin' Bajas, Cave), Acquiesce is full of entrancing moments, be it the trumpet-like call in “Muted Decision,” the typewriter beat of “Instance,” the flickering vocals in “Else,” or the alien-like glitching of “Dynasty.” It picks up from the stirring sounds of her 2017 record Love Sick—named one of the best albums of the decade by Chicago Reader—and closes its eyes, as if in meditation, to reflect on what’s next.
Recorded between spring of 2018 and summer of 2019, Acquiesce caught Chami in a turbulent stretch of extremes. During that year, she collaborated on multiple local music projects. Conversations with her therapist often turned into risk factors for anxiety. Her academic colleagues were shifting titles. Above all else, she was finding her bearings alongside her now-fiance in their passionate first year of dating. Chami recorded less music in a single year than she ever had before, and she later realized it was because she was happy. Her previous full-lengths—2013’s Sky Face, 2015’s All the Way, 2016’s Lifter + Lighter, and 2017’s Love Sick—were topically heavier. This time, she was overwhelmed with questions: Am I actually happy? Is this what I want my happiness to look like? Is this change actually good? Acquiesce was a way to sort through that.