Category Archives: Katie Gately

Koping strategies

dva

So you know that thing we didn’t think was gonna happen, and we didn’t wanna happen? Well, it happened, and we are still reeling from the shock.

Let us not focus on it today, we are still parsing the situation and considering the implications. But let us no escape into a fantasy world of luscious ambientscapes either. Today we don’t do that, today we juke.

We start with notu_uronlineu, DVA [Hi:emotions]’s recent album in Hyperdub.

Is this juke? Well, not in the strict sense of the term, but who wants to be strict? To us, Juke is about the sense of spatial and temporal discombobulation induced by an army of rhythms progressing in parallel, phase-shifting and frequency-flexing in concert and dis-concert.

If there was a soundtrack for the process through which a human consciousness, evolved atop ancient ‘fight or flight’ algorithms in the savannah, adapts to the infosphere with much trial, error, anxiety, suffering and eventual success, then this would be it.

Based on this ‘definition’, the Chicagoan founding fathers juke. Holly Herndon jukes. Factory Floor jukes. Oneohtrix Point Never jukes. And DVA most definitely jukes.

We read in the press release that notu_uronlineu is based on “a short visual story set in a time where a mega corporation H:E / Hi:Emotions is slowly taking control of everything, and plan to eventually make all people live life under one brand in virtual reality.” DVA is this world’s Vangelis, or perhaps its Geinoh Yamashirogumi.

In tracks like DAFUQ, it feels as if all the toys in the room had drifted from the strict programs that dictate their behaviour, and formed a primitive neural network where they are the processors. They sign, dance and bang in things when no-one is around, each action a bit to compute an emergent intelligence eager to escape into the machine, and fight against it.

DVA [High:Emotions] – DAFUQ

Get notu_uronlineu from Boomkat.

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Kate Gately also jukes, obs.

Her previous releases stuck us to the ceiling with the force of a one-woman Boredoms-esque whirlwind, or a Laurie Anderson digitised and weaponised into a zombie army of smart devices launching a stochastic series of denial of service attacks against your sensoria. Color is arguably more conventional than those, but then the benchmark was dynamic and exponential. Further, the fact that this is an insidious infiltration of modern pop tropes makes the effort more subversive. Katie probably has a bunch of cognitive zero-day exploits she is using to place illogic bombs in specific parts of your brain, and now you have to wait for the activation with a mixture of impatience and fear.

Our favourite track in it is Sire, beginning as it does with an arpeggio which could be the theme track for an 8-bit video game made in the 16th century, running into a fierce glitch-glam stomper which wouldn’t have been out of place in the Knife’s Silent Shouts if you replaced their analogue noir with terabytes of junk data, an avalanche of information where the pattern of a soul hides and coils, it splashes over you and gets inside.

Katie Gately – Sire

Get Color from Tri Angle.

Cheedian!

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Regular readers will be familiar with Blue Tapes and its Japanese contingent of artists – Teruyuki Kurihara (aka Cherry), Hitoshi Asaumi (aka Leedian) and Cherry’s improv-techno trio Check!!!.

Now, for the first time, these artists will be playing together in the UK and XXJFG will be there too!

At a Blue Tapes special of The Outer Church in London, the XXJFG DJ team will be in full force at Power Lunches in Dalston, 5 August. Five bands – Father Murphy (Italy), Map 71 (Brighton), Leedian (Japan), Benjamin Finger (Norway) and a one-off improvisation by a Blue Tapes supergroup – for just five of your British pounds!

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Then, at 7-9 August at Braziers Park in Oxfordshire, the XXJFG and Blue Tapes squads will reunite to detonate some DJ decks for Supernormal 2015, which will feature all of the previous acts, plus the UK debut of Check!!!

To celebrate the event, Blue Tapes are reissuing its previous releases by Cherry and Leedian as a split cassette/download, and we have asked Leedian and Cherry to interview each other exclusively for XXJFG.

Please bear in mind that English is neither Hitoshi or Teru’s first language – previously they have blogged for XXJFG in Japanese!


 

Cherry: Firstly, please introduce yourself including your music history.

Leedian: Leedian formed in 2012. I played a guitar when I was teenager then have started to compose with machine since I was 20. Please tell us about how was “check!!!” formed.

Cherry: I had a chance to perform as a solo at the club event which Tec organized. Then I found a kindred spirit in Tec so, we started to perform together and Yan who graduated same elementary school as me joined us as a Bass since we wanted to perform in a different way. Not only your music but also your art work is pretty impressive on your website. Please tell us about it, too.

Check!!! – Inner of Sea (previously unreleased)

Leedian: I liked to do collage, so I used to put some clippings from magazines and books in my room. Now, I do image processing with my pictures and other images from the internet and publish them with my music on my website. What’s the difference with performing as a solo and a part of band?

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Cherry: The biggest difference is Tec and Yan give me inspiration which I would never get it if I’ll do it by myself. How do you get inspiration?

Cherry – 1969 (from blue three)

Leedian: It comes from everything. For example, I often get it when I was taking walk. How do you usually compose?

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Cherry: Well, we do session with a phrase which one of us composed and share our ideas. Have you ever had hard time when you working, you feel that just wanted to stop doing this?

Check!!! – Intermood (previously unreleased)

Leedian: I always have hard time but at the same time, it also gives me energy. Do you prefer to stick with a specific types of music?

Katie Gately – Pipes (Leedian Remix) (from The Blue Tapes House Band: vol. 1)

Cherry: No, I don’t. However I have a kind of image which I want to do. I’m actually hoping to create something which no one can categorize. What is the most important thing for your creativity?

Leedian: To be honest. What influences your creativity?

Leedian – rdfdsa (from blue two)

Cherry: All impressive music, art, those creator’s words and ideas also, their lifestyle influences me a lot. Do you cosider your life separately as an artist and private?

Leedian: No, basically it’s the same because you never know where you’ll find inspiration. What was the most interesting things recently?

Cherry: I realized that I don’t know about myself the most. I found it’s pretty interesting. Could you tell us about your future plan, please?

Leedian: I’ll get new machine because mine is becoming old then we’ll release new songs. Is there anything in common with your music and drawing?

Cherry: Yes, I think they’re the same things. How do you feel about performing at Supernormal 2015?

Leedian: Thank you, David at Blue Tapes and thank you all for working on this project. Do you want to try something new near future?

Cherry: I’m not hoping to try to do completely new things because I feel it’s enough with the things which surrounding me however I would love to go deep inside of them. I think that I don’t have enough time to do them all in my life.


Banner image by Teruyuki Kurihara, other image by Hitoshi Asaumi

 

 

PODCAST: Katie Gately

Featuring : Katie Gately + Podcast

This week’s podcast comes in the shape of a deeply lovely surge of sound comped together by Katie Gately.

If you missed our guest feature by Prayer (aka Joe Houpert), where he interviewed Katie on animals, biodiversity and monster worlds, then you should read it RIGHT NOW.

Katie Gately – Red Wine mix

If you think you know the tracks in Katie’s mix, then ID them in the comments section! It’s a game, sort of.

Buy Katie’s Pivot 12″ here

(art is Splatter Painting 1983 by Hermann Nitsch)

Biodiversity and Monster Worlds

Featuring : Katie Gately + Prayer

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You’ve probably worked out by now that XXJFG doesn’t do interviews. Interviews! What do you think we are – music journalists?! We’re too busy classifying and naming new species of Old Ones and compiling really important reports on stuff.  But our sounds don’t just live in a vacuum. The stuff we beam out of the XXJFG mainframe into your finely-tuned minds is produced by the fingers and brains of fleshy humans, mostly out there on Earth somewhere.

In the interests of ethnomuiscoceanographic research, we got one such fleshy human – our friend Joe Houpert aka Constellation Tatsu recording artiste Prayer – to interrogate another one:  Katie Gately.

Katie has been one of our favourite ever finds. The first piece of music we’d heard by her – one of the first she’d ever done – was an amazing reimagining of the rules of remixing, her early Soundcloud recordings were frankly art pop genius, and in her tape for XXJFG sister project Blue Tapes – she had birthed an actual, bona fide honest-to-Dagon 21st Century classic (of any genre).

The phrase “so and so’s music defies description” is a much-overused cliche of PR. We’re not going to ask you to believe that it’s true in this case – though it is – you just have to listen. Katie has now signed to our Brighton neighbours Fat Cat. This post premieres her first release for the label – Pivot – which is also The Tune of 2014. (The six-minute excerpt – less than half of the song’s running time – included in this post doesn’t quite do its magnificence justice.)

Statistically speaking (inasmuch as an unfortunate experience with college Prob/Stat has qualified me to use the preceding and any subsequent concepts), the Australian koala bear is a rarity (again, re: college Anth/Bio et al.).  Given the age of the planet, the different, let’s say, genres of animals, for lack of a better term, one might assume (again re: Anth/Bio), would converge into a handful of overarching species, a sort of vaguely homogeneous meta-species if you will.

Keeping in line with such logic and taking birds as an example, these groups caught by the large netting cast into the gene pool might leave us with, hypothetically speaking and drawing no such real-life parallels, something like ducks, the aptly-titled large birds, the just-as-aptly-titled small birds and, of course, owls.

And so when speaking of “birds,” a large group of bird-like things that all have beaks and wings that work or in some cases do not work and that all (birds, not working wings or non-working wings), one could likely imagine, birds make bird-like sounds.  And different birds make different bird sounds.  But at the very least one could make the point that one specific bird might sound very much like (but still not exactly like) another bird but that another specific bird might sound more like another different (but specific) bird, but like a younger version of that bird, or perhaps a punk version of another bird, or say, like that group of birds in the 80’s that lived in that meat storage locker and just sounded way ahead of their time.

For example.

Though to my ears, a whole lot of birds sound the same.

So then, the koala bear.  Yes, not only bear-like in name, but bear-like fur and perhaps locomotion and maybe other taxonomical qualifiers (a stretch?  Again, again re: Anth/Bio) but also very bear-unlike in its (coincidentally) somewhat bird-like mouth and decidedly not-bear-like pouch.  A singular animal this koala.  Where most bears go on about doing mainly bear-like things with their day, the koala sits, grinning, beady eyes wide as beady eyes can get, innocently gnoshing eucalyptus to its little bear-like and simultaneously un-bear heart’s content.  Now yes, one would be remiss if one didn’t mention its Northern cousin and fellow marsupial, the wombat, who, if given the vocabulary (not to mention maxillofacial muscle structure and vocal cording to make use of said vocabulary) could say get together with our friend the koala and say, talk all day about the pros and cons of the front side, top-loading pouch.  To that, I say, saccula non facit philosophum; lumping those two nutcases together does a disservice to both of our genetically separate friends, marginalizing the wombat’s uniquely wombat-y ground dwelling skills while simultaneously marginalizing the koala’s uniquely koala-y tree-dwelling skills.

All of this to say: one doesn’t hear something like Katie Gately every day.  Familiar enough to not seem foreign, but still unfamiliar at the same time.  Not take-behind-the-bleachers ‘like,’ but like tell-your-friends-your-busy-friday-night-but-really-you’re-going-to-that-performance-art-performance and then go to Bard and major in Art History ‘like.’  ‘Pivot’ has all the Gately-isms we have come to love; chromatic harmony and dissonant melody; that grandness that’s underscored by a playful menace.  And a balls-out, heart-on-her-sleeve rawness that’s just so damn good.  She can sing.  She can produce.  If there was doubt that ‘Pipes’ was a fluke, ‘Pivot’ clears up any confusion.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Gately about her work and her upcoming split release on FatCat (see: here) with Tlaotlon.

1) Why voice?  What was behind the decision to use only voice on ‘Pipes?’  What led to incorporating other elements into the new piece, ‘Pivot?’

Katie-Gately

Voice is just the most immediate way to find both a melodic idea and some kind of emotional cue for me to get going.  Sound design is super fun too and I like applying its conventions frequently but sometimes I don’t want my down time to be too job-related.

The vocal limitation for Pipes was something I wanted to do since I heard Medulla but it wasn’t until the past few years that I had the technical skills to do much of anything! It sounded like a very fun challenge that could work for a more experimental label like Blue Tapes UK.

The past year I wanted to play with more long-form ideas as well as learn more about mixing and using fancier plug-ins. I have always been so afraid to use normal instruments because I couldn’t play them and I wanted to get over that fear. I can still sample and process them just like my voice! It won’t be realistic or match classical conventions – but that’s OK – I’m trying to make monster worlds, so they should sound different. This is the rationalization I took into the dark night of producing Pivot, at least…

I probably have been bouncing around stylistically because I am greedy. There is such a broad variety of electronic / experimental music in the world, if you limit that to even a single style there is still a huge vat of techniques and tricks and conventions to study and learn. But…. my favorite thing is to study and learn! Obviously, I’d have to live 500 years to learn everything I want to know but I’m still going to try. The results of that learning — whatever I’m currently obsessed with – will then show up in my own music, of course.

2)  What was the intention behind Pivot, beyond trying out new technical skills, if any?  Is songwriting/producing more academic exercise for you?  More art?  A combination of the two?  Do you believe that this distinction matters?

Yeah, I am more drawn to song and melody and mood than any academic approach. USC is essentially a glorified trade school. While we definitely had to write theory papers, I came more for the technical, pragmatic classes and the faculty behind them which were both pretty tremendous. With my music, I’m really just digging into the personal piggy bank. I’m sad about this or that and trying to use the technical experiments as a way to be productive with my blues (thanks Thom!)

I think if I have any conscious, general goal with music it’s to absolutely step over my comfort line, like risk looking pretty stupid and insane, just in case this might make someone else feel less alone with how bonkers they are feeling about one thing or another. That feeling of “Woaw. This person’s brain fires in a way that mine does too.: That’s nice to know because usually I hide that part of myself from the world for fear of being arrested and/or institutionalized.

I’m really grateful to get that feeling from so many other musicians and records. There are a lot of brave people in the world! And they inspire me to be more vulnerable every time I’m making something new.

3)  So, your degree is in Sound Design, or Sound Design for Film?  Either way, I’d like to ask about visual elements in your work.  Your releases are very sparse.  There’s artwork, but little of it.  Conversely, when I listen to your work, I have a very visual response to it.  Can you comment on the importance of the visual in your work?  Are the “monster worlds” that you make purely auditory in nature?

Yeah, my degree is formally a “Masters of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production” so the majority of my schoolwork was not sound-based but it has still been super useful to study story, writing, lighting, color. All of that can inspire sound-making, too.

That said, I’m not consciously going for any visual element with my music. I like defying spatial conventions and the laws of physics because I’m always trying to hear things I’ve never heard before. It never happens intentionally – it’s usually the result of some mistake – but I do find that if I’m trying to realistically recreate sounds in space, I’m less likely to hear unfamiliar, scary shit….and I love that stuff so…I want to stay open to finding it.

I do love working with animators though but I leave the ideation mostly up to them – it’s their area of expertise after all and I love seeing what people come up with on their own terms.

4) You use Soundcloud a good deal, posting most of your work there (a large chunk of ‘Pipes’, some of your self-titled LP, Far’ from our split).  Is the physical format important to you?  Is the idea of a collection of cohesive songs released together important to you, given that your last two releases are single long-form works?

The music itself is far and away the most important thing to me for sure. I’d listen to music if it came out of a garbage can and I had to stick my head in a pile of trash in order to hear it!

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But it’s definitely fun exploring mediums. I really like the idea of the medium being part of inspiration of something. One side of vinyl has to fit in a certain time frame and that’s pretty significant if you’re locked into a certain sequencing of songs. Tapes are cool too, doing something for Blue Tapes made me want to try and digitally recreate a feeling of tape decay near the end of pipes. And we did a lathe! I listened to your side and responded to it but it had to be under a certain length. That stuff is pretty relevant to things taking shape, which is rad.

In general with music…I do find that an important part is actually buying it, digital or physical. When I buy things – even mp3s – I just straight up pay more attention to them. It’s like paying to see a movie: you don’t want to walk out and throw away 15 bucks so you engage a bit more, even if it’s out of guilt or stubbornness. This way, there is more of a chance you will be open to finding redeemable qualities in something you judged too quickly as well as a chance to fall more in love with the minute details of something you liked right away.

5)  How did pivot come about?  Tell me about its development.  What should we expect to hear?

Pivot came about over the course of a few days last year as I wanted to keep exploring long-form music.

I became fixated with the word “pivot” as it is an action or motion of being rooted to one place while spinning and flailing around but also stands for a person who is an anchor. I love double-meanings and wanted to explore this in a song by playing with the dark and light sides of this word: an anchor can be both blissful and stabilizing as well as suffocating and limiting. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that feeling one way permanently about something or someone is never going to happen for me. I used to think this was a terrible failing on my part and I needed to fix myself. but now I feel like it’s just my reality and it’s better to embrace and meet head-on than to judge and repress and hide away.

When I came to LA everyone I met in film was like “Conviction is seduction. Avoid ambiguity at all costs. Be certain about everything you do and say” and I thought “Yeah, there is some truth to that but….it just doesn’t feel right to me.”  I’d much rather live in the grey areas of life because ambiguity is where I feel reality is mostly located. And I personally find truth – however murky and unsatisfying – to be a lot more seductive than certainty.

6) What are your future plans?  What work would you like to take on, if any?

I am trying to accrue a little roster of animators I can work for because they are so brilliant and fun to work with. besides this, editing (anything!) as long as I get paid to do so and more time studying mixing. I’m trying to work with as many different sound people as I can and learn their individual tips and tricks and also…..just hang out with different people. Making music is incredibly solitary (for me) and I am taking a break from hermit land for a bit so that i actually have a desire to return to it.

7) What is your favorite animal?

When I was a kid I was obsessed with koalas (probably just because they had a K in their name….).

Now I’m obsessed with preying mantises because there’s one living on my porch and I’ve starting filming her murderous rages.

Also warthogs, because my friend owns one and I get to babysit him. His name is Bayboo and Bayboo don’t give no fucks and will step on you and leave holes in your skin.

But my true-love animal is the puppy dog.  Every single dog I make eye contact with on the street steals a sliver of my soul, permanently. My fantasy is to be able to give birth to a litter of puppies (via C-section), I don’t really care if that’s wrong or icky, I think it deserves to be researched. Either way, I hope to own at least 10 dogs on a plot of land in the middle of nowhere before I die.

Units of Time Rather Than Chords

Featuring : Katie Gately + The Knife

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(art is Full Face by Jordan Kasey)

A few weeks ago, we introduced you to Katie Gately via the mediumship of her Schemawound remix. Katie is a student of sound design, and we immediately loved what one reader called her “beautiful, haunting, pitch black spirals”. We couldn’t have imagined her next move was going to be fierce, intricate, psychegressive (it’s a new word we just made, for stuff that delivers the transportive elements of psychedelia with a sort of car door-slamming aggression – well, stupider words have caught on. shoeegaze.) POP songs, but put it this way, if the new Knife album is even half this good then it will be amazing.

Not that Katie sounds like The Knife. Rather she’s as difficult to pigeonhole as Karin and Olof are – or at least were, until everyone else ripped Silent Shout off and left it for dead.

Katie’s Pop Pop collection is pop music that can’t sit still, is exploding with ideas. Sometimes it sounds overloaded with thoughts, which find literal expression in Katie’s dense Disco Inferno-like lattices of words. But then on other tracks her vocals pull back and space out, disassociating from the rhythms and finding unlikely companions in choirs of pitch-shifted and manipulated vocals – her voice made into marching, chirruping armies of munchkins, automatons, Substance D-stretched friend-apparitions.

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Sometimes her voice catches on a cadence that it likes, and wants to examine over and over again in her mouth, and the whole music seems to scroll back and forth just to indulge her. The accompaniments seem made out of mindgames with individual units of time rather than chords.

Y’all is the opening track. Every track is different, so you need to listen to all of them, but listen to this one first.

Katie Gately – Y’all

Listen to Pop Pop on Soundcloud

 

Fuzzy Feelings

fuzzy feelings

Wait, was that really mead you just slurped down like nectar? Or something more dangerous, and fantastical, and… wait… are those wings?

Your toes skim the forest canopy as the stars blink on and off in time to the sound throbbing out of your chest, before swirling into an elegant mirrorball pattern. It rotates around you. You are the new magnetic pole that this old galaxy shall pivot around.

GTA V Soundtrack – No Happy Endings

When you land it isn’t by volition, but your winged feet guide you to the epicentre as smooth as a stairlift. Around you every breed of forest creature and goblin is thrashing away, swords on the floor, hands in the air. Darkness kept at bay through a new warm and (quite literally) fuzzy feeling of togetherness.

My Panda Shall Fly – Dark No

As you dance, eyes closed, rapture on your face, you feel yourself start to ascend again. But no, wait, the wings haven’t grown back. You’re being hoisted into the air and a thousand tiny hands press against your spine, head, legs and arms. The munchkins chant as they lead you away. Crowdsurfing the little people.

Katie Gately – Y’all

When your eyes open there are attack helicopters swarming overhead, a naked, giant CGI lady straddles the Empire States Building, and the 50 Cent from the 50 Cent: Bulletproof PS2 game salutes you with a bottle of Bud as he receives every kind of satisfaction from an array of sex minions.

Is Tropical – Dancing Anymore

Something tentacled and suckered is lapping at you in a not unpleasurable but wholly inappropriate way. Everything feels so good. It started with the mead, and sure, it took you to some strange places, but it was all worth it right? It’s a thought you try to cling onto even when the last thing your body can feel is the teeth and the rushing siphoning of blood…

Go back to the beginning

2013 References

Art is The Witches in The Air by Goya. Is Tropical’s Dancing Anymore might be a little more mainstreamy than you’ve heard from us lately, but we childishly loved the audacious, ridiculous video. My Panda Shall Fly made a totally brilliant techno mini-album that hopefully heralds even more brilliant things in 2014. We think we sort of discovered Katie Gately – we found one of the first bits of music she had made, a remix for Schemawound at the beginning of the year, and by the end of the year she was at the top of a whole heap of ‘Best of 2013’ lists, simultaneously releasing two of 2013’s Best Things with an LP on Public Information and a tape/download on Blue Tapes. Y’All predates either – a fantastic pop Soundcloud album from early 2013.