“Plain beauty is a good thing, but life is not that simple.” So says Katie Gately when discussing the individual sounds she builds her tracks from. The statement is typical of the thoughtfulness and refinement the young LA-based artist brings into her productions – a powerful mélange of beats, vocals and electronic textures based on her own highly processed field recordings and voice.
Designed to evoke more than what she calls “garden variety emotions...happy, sad, angry, mad”, Gately’s nuanced, propulsive music has earned her numerous accolades in the last few years. Among her newfound fans is Icelandic superstar Björk, who asked Katie to remix a track from her Vulnicura album. Gately’s approach to that remix – erasing everything except for Björk’s vocals, then adding layers of harmony derived from the pitch-shifted calls of owls, peacocks, hyenas and sparrows – perfectly encapsulates her bold yet purposeful attitude and sums up why we wanted to make her the subject of our latest artist movie.
From custom-made Instrument Racks based on recordings of everyday objects, to her techniques of chopping up and affecting the individual notes of a melody line, heavy processing is central to Katie Gately’s music-making. In the video below, Katie demonstrates some of her methods for transforming sounds into useful and unique musical materials.
Taking some of the sounds she captured in her house, Katie has generously put together a Instrument Rack called “Kately’s Haunted House” which you can download for free. The device consists of four different chains of sound variations (Boiler, Oven, Scanner, and Wool Wire) each with their own effects, plus a global parallel effects chain. Katie has this to say about this Rack: “I'm an FX person so the idea is to experiment using as much variety in FX-types for a diversity of playfulness. I want each chain to think and act a bit differently – while still not creating distorted madness. My hope is people will pull these apart and personalize them (i.e. try them out on other sounds and make them smarter/wackier/cooler). I also hope people will be inspired to record sounds in their own houses to see what kind of mundane magic is living under their roof!”
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