C30 + download code
It was after hearing Katie Gately's remix of Schemawound back in February - incredibly one of the first pieces of music that she had made - that we immediately began hassling her to do a tape for us.
The result is Pipes, a piece that is both concise and ambitious. A 22nd Century pop song made out of nothing but the massed tones of the human voice, so complex that it took six painstaking months to assemble, but dropkicks the seratonin-releasing pleasure centres of the brain like the most immediate and narcotic of pop hits.
Influenced by Arthur Russell and Gregorian chant, Pipes is a kind of future choral music. In its soundworld, synthesizers have been superseded by lungs, and soundscapes are no longer programmed, but can be projected into the air at the speed of thought.
If you loved Petra Haden's classic 2005 acapella reading of The Who Sell Out, but thought it would be loads better without all The Who bits, then you'll love this. If you love pop music, but hate dumb lyrics, then this is for you. If you've ever felt a surge of energy from the sound of another human singing - whether it's opera or death metal - then this is a substation. This electric is natural and now.
Disclaimer: NO INSTRUMENTS WERE USED IN THE MAKING OF THIS RECORDING.
Praise for blue eight:
"Pipes is a stunning, cellular quilt of resonant textures, a kind of concrete chorale for vocal cords, constructed entirely from voice samples." - The Wire
"Now, I find this music mindblowing. This is my favourite track of 2013. It's really, really avant-garde. It's really leftfield. It doesn't sound like much else that's out there. And it kind of makes a mockery of this received wisdom that avant-garde music is always unapproachable." - John Doran, BBC Radio 6 Music
"There's no real competition when it comes to pinpointing the most eye-opening piece of new music to emerge from the past twelve months. Katie Gately's Pipes is it. Comprised entirely of her own, digitally manipulated vocals, it overarchingly distills the fabric of the modern human mind into one fourteen-minute blowout, searching for beauty through passages of wistful crescendoing, about-turning and quivering through hard-to-nail-down emotions, restlessly exploding with countless momentary thoughts, and all irrevocably interlocked with the omnipresent draw of technology. Pipes' cyborgian methodology is no deterministic trapping though. Gately and the machine's is a symbiotic relationship, creating a virtual sonic hall of mirrors, reflecting, refracting and amplifying her voice into every possible nook and cranny of your inner ear. The Quietus' decision to name Pipes as one of their albums of the year so far (admittedly it was released in late 2013, but only a handful of us had heard it at that point) is testament to the piece's sheer brilliance - all the more remarkable coming from an almost entirely unknown newcomer. ” - The Quietus (best tapes of 2013, and #7 best album of 2014)
"You can hear that escalation in Gately's work as you can in Parmegiani's 1990s-onwards work or in Oswald's Plexure and Grayfolded." - Simon Reynolds
“The 14-minute title piece is constructed entirely of vocals (and effects) and is one of the most stunning compositions I’ve heard in 2013. Dense layering and broken rhythms become an all-encompassing horror ride that I never want to end. My mind is totally blown. Pipes is one of 2013’s highlights.” - FACT Magazine (#2 tape of 2013)
"Gately's voice, torn asunder and reconfigured into something like an ecstatic pop song that can and does go every which way. It'd be a disservice to even describe the insane chutes and ladders game that Pipes plays." - NPR (best tapes of 2013)
"A truly dizzying and satisfying release from Katie Gately. With the exclusive use of processed, manipulated, and layered vocal tracks Katie invents a fun house mirror maze of sound that ping pongs from celestial to inebriated. There are jarring transitions from theme to theme to theme with the GPS battery totally drained. Just please check this out." - Ad Hoc/Tabs Out
"'Pipes' is a vocals-only track, a wonderful piece of ethereal breathing and crystal Pop constructed in what sound like infinite layers of dazzling landscapes, her stunning voice invading each corner of the music." - The 405
"A fantastic layering of ghostly sounds... spectacular, beautiful." - Los Angeles, I'm Yours
"Katie Gately's production for Blue Tapes at once resembles Medulla's fragmentation of mouth-centric music. It is dark, restless, unpredictably glitchy..." - No Fear of Pop
"Leftfield Katie Gately creates a weird discordant form of avant-garde Pop that keeps us coming back for more. There’s something within its ever-changing skin that keeps us listening, keeps us guessing and keeps us attempting to unravel the songs and their bewildering construction." - Bowlegs
"Blue Tapes have already released some of the most intoxicating music of the year... there is no question this is the best release yet from the label. 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." - Unwashed Territories
"Truly inspiring... Ms Gately has been busy beyond the point of insanity meticulously crafting a layer upon layer coding purely of her vocals into an exhaustive aural trip which can only be described as a kookily kissed celestial choral carousel of sorts, what first starts out shy eyed and rubbed with folky lullaby like appeal soon fuses into heavenly washes to dissipate and dissolve into dream pop arcs ushering with intricate detail towards a heightening crescendo only to re-emerge from the foggy haze into a lounge lilted lovely that playfully touches base in a most engagingly erratic fashion with Laetitia Sadier in frivolous moods out to play with Heather Duby and Takako Minekawa - it really is bizarrely beautiful and definitely worth investigation." - The Sunday Experience
"Pipes is a very pleasing mixture of ambient vocal pulsing that transitions into complex rhythmic textures. I look forward to hearing what Katie Gately comes up with next." - Cassette Gods
"...almost like a pop song, with a mass of voices providing drones, melodies, beats and all such like, and we hear Gately singing heavenly, chanting is probably a better word." - Vital Weekly
"Best thing Blue Tapes have released so far - fabulous." - Sean Hocking, Dandelion Radio
"One of our favourite new electronic experimentalists..." - Seal On Psychedelics
"What does it sound like then? Ummmm? Like a totally fucking mad drug trip I suppose. At it's root is the kind of gibbering, lunatic experimental techno I really love but it also appears Katie has invited an entire stampeding zoo of sonic unhinged-ness into her already vast arena of delirium. If you imagined Warpaint and Grouper savagely compressed into one entity, abstractedly remixed by a drunken and fried Oneohtrix Point Never and then the whole thing handed over to insane jungle-floor dwelling Finn Tomutonttu, then subsequently vomited into the lap of Squarepusher and Bogdan Raczynski at their most gabba-like deranged? Maybe then you'd have some semblance of an inkling how intensely mad this tape really is. 9/10" - Brian, Norman Records
"You’ve read the blurb, seen the rave reviews, now please restore my faith in humanity and buy this tape. For music of this quality 200 copies should be gone in an instant, but we don’t live in a just world. Sure, you only get one track on the physical tape (repeated both sides), but you also get a 9-minute download track of equal quality and the fuzzy feeling inside of knowing you’re onto something special. The track is hard to describe, all manipulated vocals in an unknown or non-language ebbing and flowing. It’s avant-garde, but accessible. The best thing to do is to listen to the extract on this site rather than me try to describe it and make your way to the checkout. 9/10" - Dan John, Norman Records