Release Date: Aug 12, 2016
Record label: Joy Void
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Experimental Rock
Fuzzy logic is a system of logic in which truth values exist between 0 and 1, the binary values that make up the better-known Boolean logic. This logic can be used to analyze propositions whose values change depending on the perspective; a popular and easy to grasp example is imagining a glass filled partially with water. The glass may either be x percentage full of water or y percentage empty of water, depending on the perspective, but so long as it is not entirely empty or full, the truth value exists between 0 and 1.
Australian songwriter and producer Katie Dey’s 2015 debut, asdfasdf, felt born from the internet. It wasn’t that social media fomented the cult musician’s rapid rise (though shoutouts from Elvis Depressedly’s Mat Cothran certainly didn’t hurt) or that she dropped roots straight onto blogs’ front pages like some recent industry plants seem to. Though it was conceivably constructed by the same means and from the same influences as her peers in the home-studio-rat scene that’s formed around Brooklyn boutique label Orchid Tapes (who also released the record), there was something different.
Depending on the listener, the tone of asdfasdf—the debut EP from Melbourne bedroom-pop artist Katie Dey—could be described as anarchic joy, or blissful insanity, or uncontainable anxiety. Broadly speaking, you could make do with “uncontainable.” While formally indie-pop, asdfasdf loosened the genre with inquisitive psychedelia and fidgety freak-folk. The result was an emotional canvas of unusual breadth.
The differences between the cover of Melbourne artist Katie Dey’s new album, Flood Network, and that of her debut, asdfasdf are quite telling. Though they share similar color schemes, the reds, yellows, and blues have gone from pastels to the vibrancy of a graphical imaging of a neural network. Her face has gone from complete obscurity to some features being identifiable.
Despite the Orchid Tapes associations, Katie Dey’s music is tough to pin down. Last year, the Melbourne producer/songwriter released a strange anomaly of a tape on the label, a messy composite of mangled synths, racing powerpop guitars, and, most jarringly, her heavily processed, pitch-shifted vocals. With scathing croaks and re-pitched shouts, the tape was impossible to peg with genre tags or sonic descriptors, meandering through its seven short tracks with a fresh force of wide-eyed experimentation.
Australian singer/songwriter Katie Dey's singular brand of fragmentary home-recorded pop is fragile, strange, and sometimes frightening. Taking full advantage of the recording and editing capabilities of her laptop, she vibrantly strums her scratchy-sounding guitar and programs nervous, glitchy beats. Nothing is ever straightforward with her music; it constantly feels like it's mutating and being pulled apart against its will.
It's been a rather emotional beginning of September for those who are wholly enraptured with Nick Cave's chilling Skeleton Tree. But if you've been looking for some music to decompress with, then the past month featured some rather great offerings. My top choice for the month goes to the singular ….