It was after hearing Katie Gately's remix of Schemawound back in February - incredibly one of the first pieces of music that she had made - that we immediately began hassling her to do a tape for us.
The result is Pipes, a piece that is both concise and ambitious. A 22nd Century pop song made out of nothing but the massed tones of the human voice, so complex that it took six painstaking months to assemble, but dropkicks the seratonin-releasing pleasure centres of the brain like the most immediate and narcotic of pop hits.
Influenced by Arthur Russell and Gregorian chant, Pipes is a kind of future choral music. In its soundworld, synthesizers have been superseded by lungs, and soundscapes are no longer programmed, but can be projected into the air at the speed of thought.
If you loved Petra Haden's classic 2005 acapella reading of The Who Sell Out, but thought it would be loads better without all The Who bits, then you'll love this. If you love pop music, but hate dumb lyrics, then this is for you. If you've ever felt a surge of energy from the sound of another human singing - whether it's opera or death metal - then this is a substation. This electric is natural and now.
Disclaimer: NO INSTRUMENTS WERE USED IN THE MAKING OF THIS RECORDING.
Praise for Katie Gately:
"You can hear that escalation in Gately's work as you can in Parmegiani's 1990s-onwards work or in Oswald's Plexure and Grayfolded." - Simon Reynolds
"Fantastic bionic structures. Rhythms bob beneath, but are switched around intuitively and with a sense of fun... vocals are layered and stepped up and down in bold, jarring brushstrokes." - The Wire
"...the sound of deconstruction... hinting at pop only to take delight in crumbling from within. Countless timbres and textures jostle within her tracks, either crammed together in a sonic maelstrom, or separated by what feel like blasts of chilled air." - Resident Advisor
“With pure, ethereal vocals poured over an industrial and sluggish beat... sounds like Gately found the hidden door to the intersection of light and shadow, planting her flag solidly at its nexus.” - XLR8R
“On her self-titled debut EP, Katie Gately weaves silky pop vocals and field recordings processed beyond all recognition into cold, abrasive soundscapes.” - FACT Magazine
“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.” - 20 Jazz Funk Greats
"'Pipes' is a vocals-only track, a wonderful piece of ethereal breathing and crystal Pop constructed in what sound like infinite layers of dazzling landscapes, her stunning voice invading each corner of the music." - The 405
"Leftfield Katie Gately creates a weird discordant form of avant-garde Pop that keeps us coming back for more. There’s something within its ever-changing skin that keeps us listening, keeps us guessing and keeps us attempting to unravel the songs and their bewildering construction." - Bowlegs
"Falling somewhere between the icy, high resolution electronic experiments of Holly Herndon and the sunkissed pop of Julia Holter, Gately’s self-titled debut sees her combine her own heavily treated vocals amidst an occasionally bewildering array of sample-based scrapes, cracks and drones that somehow shape themselves into an avant-garde form of pop music, manifesting itself as “Fractured vocalisations, bittersweet harmonies, freaked alien voices all living, breathing in deep fried motherboards of acute computer programming and field sound.” - Juno Plus
- spiritual pop