Both a piercing cry into the gulf of grief, and a collection of dark lullabies that provide momentary distraction from it; Katie Gately‘s second album Loom is a poignant ode to her late Mother, who she lost to cancer in 2018. Set for release via Houndstooth on 14th February, the electronic musician & producer has channelled her grief into eight new songs.
Gately created Loom in the aftermath of her Mother’s cancer diagnosis, thus giving the record it’s dark, melancholy, intensely sobering feel. She used real earthquake recordings in her productions; as well as samples of peacocks screaming, pill bottles shaking, and heavily processed audio from her parent’s wedding to reflect the void left by the loss.
Loom opens with the quiet, hypnotic ‘Ritual’. Layers of Gately’s beguiling vocals ring out over cautious electronics that gently rise and fall in time with her voice. The at times claustrophobic ‘Allay’ personifies the cancer that stole Gately’s Mother. Even without knowledge of this context, it’s still an unsettling listen, with its severe electronics and dense beats.
Inspired by Leonard Cohen – one of her Mother’s favourite artists – ‘Waltz’ is a haunting, powerful call to arms encouraging listeners to dance, even in the midst of overwhelming grief. Gately wrote it after listening to Cohen’s track ‘Take This Waltz’ on repeat for an entire day, resulting in five minutes of dark, energized sound. Following track ‘Bracer’ is a powerful, ten minute eerie epic. It’s also worth noting that it was Gately’s Mother’s favourite track on Loom.
Along with ‘Waltz’, Gately describes these songs as being about the same thing: “They’re about being disoriented and wanting to check out with a substance. I used whisky.” Both tracks have a manic, kinetic quality; as if the whiskey that fuelled their formation is flowing through the veins of her listeners, encouraging them to perform a contorted dance to Gately’s soundscapes.
Much like opener ‘Ritual’, ‘Rite’ provides a few minutes of breathing space, before dense beats and a menacing blur of sounds on ‘Tower’ make the hairs on the back of the neck twitch. Here, Gately inhabits the medicine that confronts her Mother’s cancer. For the first four minutes, it’s abrasive and severe, but it switches for the final two; with Gately’s soothing vocals acting as a tonic to the toxicity.
The startling, cathartic sounds on penultimate track ‘Flow’ ring out for six powerful minutes. Written from the perspective of her Mother, this track is one of the strongest on the record. Final track ‘Rest’ is announced through Gately’s poignant vocals, closing an album that’s both shocking and soothing in equal measure.
Gately has said that the process of creating Loom is “blurry” to her now, perhaps repressing some of the darker, more desperate feelings that must have permeated it. Whilst her discomfort and grief are audible throughout the record, the fact she confronted her complex emotions proves she is both a genuinely talented musician, and an incredibly brave woman.
Pre-order Katie Gately’s new album Loom here.
Katie Gately UK Live Dates 2020
March 31 – Manchester – The White Hotel
April 1 – London – Cafe Oto (with support from Hinako Omori)
Photo Credit: Steve Gullick