Sunday, 6 October 2013

Katie Gately - Pipes

Blue Tapes have already released some of the most intoxicating music of the year, so it was with a sense of fevered anticipation that I approached their latest offering, a C30 cassette from Los Angeles sound artist Katie Gately.  To say I wasn't disappointed would be an understatement: on first hearing it was apparent that this was in contention for the best release yet from the label and on second I decided there was no question that it was.

Pipes is a fourteen-minute masterpiece of sonic exploration and, if that phrase conjures up thoughts of cold, atonal experimentation then dismiss them immediately but this is anything but.  Remarkably for a work made purely from tones of the human voice, it has a defiant and heady kick and a distinct and bewitching sense of harmony, albeit harmony of a kind you'll rarely find even hinted at in the mechanic industrial factory fodder of yer average pop song.  Gately strips all that away to leave something pure and brilliant and the fourteen minutes we're left with is sublime, sparse and entirely enthralling throughout.

Apparently it took Gately six months to put this together and, given its meticulously crafted power, that's entirely believable.  The tape's limited to a run of 200 and, given the praise that's already been lavished on the release and on Gately by the likes of The Wire, the 405 and my own Dandelion Radio colleagues, among others, you'd better get in there fast.  Get it here and hear the piece in its entirety in my October Dandelion Radio show.

Find out more about Gately's work at her soundcloud site here.  Here's a free sample of something else to get you started:


  1. The excerpt on her website sounded great... makes me wish I owned a functioning cassette player!

  2. You can actually get a cassette-mp3 converter - Aldi do them pretty cheaply. I got one last year and it's been really useful for when I want to play a cassette in my show.