Power and hopelessness
Katie Gately is an artist and producer from LA who fuses her shimmering vocals with experimental electronics. Gately’s newest project Loom is ghostly and baroque; traditional musical motifs are dissected and transformed into structurally complex and unique sonic narratives. Taking influence and embracing experimental pop stars like Bjork gives some context to Gately’s production. Alien textures and evolution take over many tracks, her voice often ladened with effects and textural curiosity.
The track “Waltz” is a futuristic and wonderfully aggressive take on a traditional waltz; driving orchestral rhythms hold the track together as Gately uses her effected and transfixing vocals to craft something completely new. It is refreshing to hear this clash of sounds and rhythms, especially with Gately’s dark and powerful vocal aesthetic. All of Loom is made with grandiose waves of sound. Even at its most minimal, these tracks are full of warm energy, a background noise that evokes mystery and a kind of hopeful sadness.
“Bracer” is grand and cinematic, starting slow and building continuously for ten minutes. This track is challenging and dynamic. Gately’s instrumental layering is phenomenal and it feels like the soundtrack to a dark fantasy film. This bold mix of synthetic and acoustic, minimal and maximal, power and hopelessness, is the thesis and core of the album. Tracks like “Ritual” and “Rest” showcase Gately’s restraint and versatility; these tracks are softer, ambient and abstract. Clouds of quiet textures shroud the shimmering vocals, and while still powerful and creative, give the listener a break from the more layered, complex and lengthy album highlights.
Certain tracks like “Tower” fit well with the rest of the tracklist but fall short of the project’s highlights. Certain vocal melodies tend to clash with production and sometimes Gately is overshadowed by the instruments around her. These brief yet tedious passages keep Loom from being perfect but overall this album is an achievement in composition and emotional expression.