The Lisa Germano of electronica.
“Forever Music” is the fifth album from Katie Dey who has made her music often through digital manipulation of her voice and instruments. I came across her music on her previous album “mydata” which I personally enjoyed because of how intermingled different styles and emotions were. For this album, Katie strips away a lot of the vocal manipulation and leaves her voice raw and unfiltered. This is new for Dey and her music and it sets the album up to sound and hit differently.
This album is largely more positive but in a Tumblr teen way. There is a wonderfully wild back and forth that Katie has with herself as she crams emotions of love, pain, taking baby steps forward, hiding away from happiness and learning to embrace it all in a verse and chorus. It’s what makes Katie’s music hit home and work. “unfurl” is all about how blood from a wound turns to a scar and this album feels like the musical equivalent.
Sonically, there is still plenty of electronica downbeat weirdness going on but even here, the music feels more structured and formed than ever before. “Real Love” is a grungy lo-fi synth anthem for the emotionally spiked. The overblown synths and kick drum soft punch work so well for hugely dramatic verses. “No Love for Songs” channels organs and drum loops closer to a rock track than a synth pop one. The grunge buzz is strong as always with Katie Dey. Whether it’s the whimsical piano of “fuckboy” alongside chirpy drums or the bass minimalism of “sharp teeth” – every track has a bite to it.
The last few tracks on the album transition to something more dreamy and psychedelic at times but also more acoustic-styled. Closer “rot with me” is almost a ballad with synth strings, warbling piano and Katie’s voice in a higher register. The title track is a drum, piano and hazy pad led piece – again keeping things simple and uncluttered. In many ways, the album style, overall mood and lyrical delivery reminds me of Lisa Germano. Her music is so entrenched in a doom cloud of emotion that she can play a happy little tune and you still feel like you’ve been handed a ticking time bomb of sadness. Katie Dey does the same, just with crunchy electronica instead.
“Forever Music” is an emotionally charged soup given clarity by deciding to streamline the musical arrangements and vocal effects. As a result, Katie Dey has given this album a weight to it that hits on first listen. The bedroom pop stylings won’t please everyone’s ear – it is rough on you on purpose – but that’s the point. The album wants to be that worn out vinyl with scratches and well worn grizzly edges to it. You’ll love it more for that character.
Recommended track: real love
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