Earlier in 2020, Katie Gately released her devastatingly powerful new album ‘Loom’ via Houndstooth. The album is a haunting collection of songs in which Gately channels the loss of her mother using loaded sound samples including earthquakes, explosions, wolf howls, peacock screams, grinding stones and more.
Today she shares a new video for the track “Flow;” a delicate, ethereal track in which Gately sings from her mother’s perspective with an otherworldly sense of acceptance and calm. Gately comments: “Five years ago I was up in the middle of the night and out of nowhere ‘Flow’ came into my head. It arrived all at once – melody, harmony, lyrics, structure – and I jumped out of bed to record it. As I sang the lyrics, I had an eerie feeling but assumed it had to do with insomnia and nothing else. I saved the session, went to sleep and forgot about the song for three years.
The next time I opened up the session my mother was nearing the end of her life. I made a cartoonish gasp as I listened to my vocals realizing that while the voice recorded was my own, the narrator of the song was definitely not me. It was my mother. My mom moved through the world with her rib cage cracked right open: heart out front and center. When you live this way, armor-free, you get zapped often but you also get to feel life as fully as it can be felt. Every little miracle is allowed in to have a party. There is a real muscularity to this kind of vulnerability and this song tries to capture it. In part, to make a pretty song. In whole, to keep my mother’s voice loud and bright.”
Director Jola Kudela gives the track a suitably celestial visual treatment, commenting: “I particularly loved the tone and the subject of Katie’s song, it’s hauntingly beautiful, it’s about how to find peace in your grief and pain, and how to accept it. As I was visualising the video, I imagined a sort of a journey of a spirit that doesn’t despair after death but continues its movement through the world.I have used volcanic and snowy landscapes as a base, and worked graphically on them to create a sensation of the world being transformed by a vision of someone who is not from our dimension anymore. I wanted to achieve the feeling of open space and silence, a sort of transcendental calm.”
Following remix work for Björk and Zola Jesus, productions for serpentwithfeet, and her debut album on Tri-Angle, ‘Loom’ is a remarkable record, dedicated to Katie’s mother who passed away in 2018 due to a rare form of cancer. Gately channels her loss through a multitude of sounds and samples, including seismic rumbles and earthquake recordings alongside her signature adventurous sound design and unexpected earworm melodies, signifying how grief like this is like the shifting of the earth.
Where her debut album, 2016’s ‘Color’, deployed fractured rhythms, fierce licks, bold samples and paintbox pop hooks, ‘Loom’ reveals crepuscular textures. Her voice is more forward in the mix, often densely layered in choral laments above a coarse foundation of hard and brittle sound design, the latter of which is rooted in her film school training. As well as earthquake sounds, ‘Loom’ includes more samples chosen for their associative power – pill bottles shaking, wolves howling, a shovel digging, a paper shredder and heavily processed audio from her parent’s wedding.
‘Loom’ is available now through Houndstooth: https://hndsth.lnk.to/KatieGately