ALBUM: Katie Gately – ‘Loom’

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

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Katie Gately – ‘Waltz’

Inspired by one of her Mother’s favourite artists, Leonard Cohen; Katie Gately‘s new track ‘Waltz’ is a haunting, powerful call to arms encouraging listeners to dance, even in the midst of overwhelming grief.

The track is lifted from Gately’s upcoming album Loom, which is set for release via Houndstooth on 14th February. The record is dedicated to Gately’s Mother, who passed away in 2018 due to a sudden onset of a particularly aggressive form of cancer. The electronic musician & producer has channelled her grief into these new songs, and ‘Waltz’ is one example of how transformative this can be.

After listening to Leonard Cohen’s track ‘Take This Waltz’ on repeat for an entire day, Gately was inspired to write ‘Waltz’. The accompanying video directed by Samantha Shay was shot at an abandoned Catholic convent, and features modern dancer Bobbi Jene Smith opposite Gately, who appears in her own video for the very first time.

“When you see me, I am already gone” muses Gately at the beginning of the track, as Jene Smith performs her primal, urgent, crooked choreography around the stark walls of the convent. Speaking about the track, and the accompanying visuals, Gately explains further: “When I listen, I see images that correlate to a zebra on a bad LSD trip. But I feel that its absurdity honours the chaos of losing someone you love more than time, space or measure. And so perhaps my message is: it’s okay to feel like a drunk zebra when your heart is breaking. Or, to quote the far greater poet Leonard Cohen: “When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That’s about all you can do.””

Gately’s admirable outlook and bravery in writing and recording the video for ‘Waltz’ didn’t go unnoticed by Director Samantha Shay. “When I work with a musician, there is a wide spectrum to feelings about being filmed or photographed, and Katie expressed that she didn’t feel comfortable on camera,” she explains. “The day of the shoot, I asked Katie if she wanted to be challenged as a performer or not, and she practically demanded it of me. What resulted was absolutely magnetic. She wilfully and bravely let her walls collapse in front of us, and this video, to me, is a powerful portrait of her.”

And what a beguiling, intense portrait it is. Watch the video for ‘Waltz’ below and follow Katie Gately on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Katie Gately UK Live Dates 2020
April 1st – London’s Cafe Oto

Photo Credit: Steve Gullick

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Gazelle Twin & NYX Electronic Drone Choir to perform ‘Deep England’ as part of EFG London Jazz Festival

A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) has paired up with the NYX electronic drone choir once again to perform ‘Deep England’; a hair-raising transformation of her recent album Pastoral, which exhumes England’s “rotten past” and questions its uncertain future. The performance will take place on 20th November at Southbank Centre, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The collaboration was first commissioned and performed in December 2018 as part of a collaborative series at London’s Oval Space, but now Bernholz’s operatic voice will be displayed in all its glory alongside the equally as powerful voices of the NYX choir in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Together, Bernholz and NYX use their voices, acoustic glitching, polyphonic overtone and ambient textures to bring Gazelle Twin’s Pastoral vision to life. The unique choir explore and test the limits of organic and synthetic modulation to explore the entire spectrum of collective female voice as an instrument. Their veiled Handmaid’s-Tale-esque silhouettes are a formidable sight on stage, so expect to be blown away by the power and the glory of their live show.

GIHE will be at the show, and we urge you to grab a ticket for it here.

For more information about EFG London Jazz Festival events, click here.

LISTEN: Susanna – ‘Ecstasy X’

A cinematic soundscape haunted by a bewitching vocal: Norwegian artist Susanna‘s latest single ‘Ecstasy X’ is an unusual, beguiling listen. Taken from her upcoming album Garden of Earthly Delights (set for release on 22nd Feb via SusannaSonata) the track features church bells on a cassette, accordion, and heavily processed voices that claim ecstasy is only achievable if we follow the goddess of darkness.

Inspired by the surreal in medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s artwork, Susanna has created a selection of experimental songs on her new album with the help of a team of musicians called the Brotherhood of Our Lady. These artists have worked their magic on ‘Ecstasy X’, intoxicating listeners with their subtle and strange sounds and concepts

Susana’s new work is a thought-provoking, considered listen that ensnares the senses and questions the pain and pleasure of being human. Listen to ‘Ecstasy X below and follow Susanna on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order Susanna’s upcoming album Garden of Earthly Delights here.

Photo credit: Signe Fuglesteg Luksengard

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut