Tags: eclipse, georgina brett, loops, sky high diamonds, vocal, vocal loops
(Editor’s note: before we dive into this review I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to our latest RFM writer – Sky High Diamonds. We’re super-pleased-delighted to have her on board. Take it away SHD…)
Georgina Brett – The Eclipse Collaborations (Self Release) Hand-painted Gold USB Flash Drive / Bandcamp Download
I am already familiar with some of this artist’s creative sound works, so as I hit play I sit back, breathe and wait.
It drifts into my ears, delicately at first. These are succinct pockets of sound, ‘beeps’ and vocal alliterations that build in strength and velocity into layers, enveloping me, layers upon layers of sound, all from one source – the voice of Georgina Brett.
This artist works with sound and space in such a way that a 4D sound is totally imaginable through my headphones and monitors.
Georgina is based in London and makes music that involves using her voice and effects pedals, creating,
“instant choirs of sound often in an hypnotic style,”
…which can further be described as an avant- garde approach in that it can take on both a minimalist and modernist style. She has presented and performed her work nationally and internationally and at many live –looping festivals.
I am tuning-in intently to the second track, ‘Wonderful Them’ a collaboration with Lucid Brain Integrative Project running at 36 minutes and 22 seconds. There are folk-ish undertones to this piece, with a little distortion and atmospheric development as the piano sounds tinkle away. Then the vocal develops, a nonsensical, rhythmical diatribe in poetic conversation with the air. There are no audible words but sounds, hums, phonetic moaning, pulsing and breathing, so smoothly swathed in velvety textures and vocal sprinkles, they fall from the sky like multi-coloured Hundreds and Thousands. Georgina’s sighs lift and drop, like waves along the coastline, and still I feel a subtle folk vibe to this track, like she and the other musicians will break into a familiar folk song at any moment. The track is a soupy blend of electronic beeps and loops, whispering melodic guitar and piano with hints of jazz, folk and blues undertones, submersed within Georgina’s powerful vocal expressions.
At 21 minutes in I can really hear how the effect of her textured whispering mimics the delicate, almost natural sounds of bees, flies and birds in undergrowth on a summer evening. The piano sounds morph into deeper sounds and begin to lift again, taking over, ever so subtly whilst the echoes and delays carry a multitude of vocal sounds far into the distance and all around me.
I would expect to get bored with all of this vocal for this length of time, but I don’t. Instead, I am intrigued by every new sound that is introduced and becomes part of the addictive loop, and every sound that is lost, dropping away to be replaced. At 22 minutes in I find myself wondering what it is that she is trying to communicate to me through these voluminous curtains of vocal sounds.
A few gentle drum beats here and there help to remind me of the context for this track. It does have an ambient feel, it is an immense and immersive soundscape but it has structure too and I totally trust Georgina to sculpt this structure for me, she is one step ahead of this unfolding soundscape at all times, unfurling it for her listeners bit by bit.
Georgina described this process to me,
“I love the challenge of merging past, present and future into one thought process. The past being the palette of sound I have just played, the present being the sounds I am singing (or the listening I am doing in order to select the perfect next contribution to the composition) and the future being what I imagine I want to hear next.”
Returning to ‘Wonderful Them’ I find at 25 minutes the jazz-like synth sounds return; they contrast but compliment the already very present and textured layers. The soundscape then breaks down into some kind of verse structure and I am waiting, again, for that folk song to emerge, whilst reflecting upon how unexpected this structure change is, then it lifts away again into a cascade of scattered soprano showers.
No folk song emerges. By now I am too immersed in this ever-layering landscape to worry about looking for a message or a meaning. A natural conclusion to this track begins to come into view through the panning vocal and the return of the synth organ style sounds. Is that a helicopter coming into land? Vibratory, rumbling, a distant engine turning over and over and then dissolving into a sound I can only akin to omnipresent tribal chanting or dogs barking. I know, and I can hear precisely how, all of these vocal sounds somehow belong to Georgina.
Track 4 is a collaboration with Seagram Murals and ‘Flirting at the Dole Office,’ has for me, an intriguing title. I haven’t heard of the Job Centre being called a “dole office” for years and the idea of flirting in one, well, those were the days. I find this track incredibly upbeat and very enchanting with its looped vocal rhythms and drum machines. It has such a presence of liveliness, positivity and lightness within a spectrum of rainbowed frequencies that I find that my original dole office image, as pictured in my memory, has now been entirely transcended by the music and vocal sounds that express a flurry of flirtatious activity.
Track 11 is composed of a wide range of mouth sounds, such as hissing, clicking and tutting, all very precise and followed by long hissing sounds. An electronic synth organ invades; it is slightly off key at times and then breaks down completely to reveal the spontaneous variety of long drawn out, medium and short bursts of punctilious sounds, all from Georgina’s mouth. This is a collaborative piece between Georgina and Idiot St. Crazy called ‘Copy That.’ This is also a playful track where each segment spirals off outwards, morphing into another form, before it reaches the listener’s ears. These sounds from Georgina are constantly changing and towards the end of this track they become very pinched and hissy, almost like a gathering of little birds, but slightly sinister and whispering little birds.
I asked Georgina to explain a little of her process and how she can produce what seems to be both wonderfully simple yet deeply complex tracks in both live and recorded formats. She explains,
“With my more improvised pieces I like to make performance spaces where I don’t have to think logically, I know my pedal-board set up so well that it is like playing an acoustic instrument. Often I choose very simple settings, allowing me to stay in a state of concentration on the sound, inhabiting the right-brain inspiration as much as possible.”
As well as improvised and collaborative works, future plans for multiple recording and live works, Georgina runs Tuesday’s Post, which she describes as a London-based Progressive Ambient Club,
“one where the chat in between and after the performances is valued and encouraged and many of the audience members have performed with us at some point.”
Dissolve some more here…