GORDI – ” Our Two Skins “

Posted: July 31, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

Losing someone close to you creates an almost phantom limb-like effect. Often, it feels like they’re a phone call away. But that instant between when you reach for the phone and when your brain delivers the new reality to you is a strange, momentary eternity. It’s both an uncompromising void and maybe as close as you’ll ever come to communing with that loved one again.

Gordi wrote “Sandwiches” as a tribute to the matriarch of her family. Her late grandmother was, in Gordi’s words, “a great feeder of people.” So when she fell ill, Gordi and her mother took it upon themselves to nourish the visitors gathered around her hospital bed. As they passed around sandwiches, “someone called out that she was gone.”

Gordi called on long-time collaborators and Bon Iver production duo Chris Messina and Zach Hanson to make “Sandwiches” at her family home in Canowindra, Australia — an old cottage littered with some of Sophie’s favourite pieces of musical arsenal combined with some flown in from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The tiny farm town where her family has lived for over a century, Canowindra, and the heart of the matriarch, is embedded in this song.

The writing of Our Two Skins began after a nervous breakdown while pacing around an Etihad flight from Australia to Europe in late 2017.  Payten had finished exams to earn a medical degree and after trading her “nice, safe relationship” for a new one, she began coming to terms with a new truth in her identity.  That identity struggle and her new relationship, which played out against the backdrop of the marriage equality plebiscite in Australia and her Catholic upbringing, led to an isolated internal state. That state was further fueled by distance, trying communication and lost loved ones.  Our Two Skins chronicles the intense and impossible time Payten spent renegotiating who she is and how she fits in the world.

The imagery for ‘Our Two Skins’ was created during the drought and before the most extensive bushfires Australia has ever seen last summer.

It captured the unrelenting and deceptively positive blue sky keep watch over a dusty, dead orange landscape. A mirage of hope and dread.

The colour palette was actualised in my favourite variant of the 12″ vinyl. I’ve been told there’s only a few copies left. If you haven’t already,

In 20 anxious minutes on that lonely flight to an isolated six weeks in Europe, Payten penned the album opener “Aeroplane Bathroom”.  She recalls that time, “I had that sensation of being trapped so I climbed over the other passengers and tried to escape to the bathroom. The fluorescent lights in those spaces are most unforgiving. A terrible mirror.”

“This song is about feeling isolated. It comes at a very strange time now given we’re all locking ourselves in our homes, ‘socially isolating’ from our normal functional lives. There is no more dehumanising experience than to be cut off from everything you know. It can plunge you into total despair.”

Payten’s disposition is open and charming. She says, “A big theme of the record is: there’s nothing to hide behind. We didn’t have all the bells and whistles. You’re just standing there, with your hands in your pockets going: this is me. This is it. This is all I have.“

“Extraordinary Life” the new song by Gordi off ‘Our Two Skins’ out June 26 on Jagjaguwar Records.

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