Posts Tagged ‘Canowindra’

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.

Australian musician Gordi (real name: Sophie Payten) has just shared this shimmering new single which he says is a tribute to her late Grandmother. The song was produced by Bon Iver collaborators Chris Messina and Zach Hanson at Gordi’s family home in Canowindra, Australia. “Her whole life was in Canowindra,” say Gordi of her grandmother. “We made it in a house that’s a hundred meters from her house.” She’ll be on tour with Of Monsters & Men this spring.

The Australian musician Gordi, moniker of Sophie Payten, shares the new single, “Sandwiches,” and its accompanying Justin Ridler-directed video. “Sandwiches” It is a soaring, post-new wave anthem, and a tribute to her late grandmother. One of the first true Gordi “guitar songs,” it shimmers with the lush-yet-fragile momentum of The Cranberries’ classic “Dreams.” “Sandwiches” follows “The Cost,” a track released last month in support of the Australian Bushfire Relief efforts, and is Gordi’s first new recording since her 2017 debut album, “Reservoir”. Gordi has also recently collaborated with Troye Sivan, toured with Sam Smith, Julien Baker and Fleet Foxes, performed at Eaux Claires alongside The National, Bon Iver and Big Red Machine, and finished her medical degree to become a qualified doctor.

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.”

The gravity of the moment was poignant for its softness and mundanity. Gordi approaches the totality of a loved one’s life as measured in the small memories that stay with us. She sings, “When I think of you a movie-reel of moments plays / We’ll be in the car or after mass on Saturdays / You’ll be walking down the driveway, you’ll be in your chair / You’ll say ‘See you round’ or ‘Say your “Three”’ / And now you’re everywhere.”

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, and where the video was filmed. “Her whole life was in Canowindra…we made it in a house that’s a hundred meters from her house.”

“Sandwiches” by Gordi, out now on Jagjaguwar Records..

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Australian musician Gordi shares the new single, “Volcanic,” from her new album, Our Two Skins, on Jagjaguwar Records. The release date for Our Two Skins has moved to June 26th due to disruptions related to COVID-19. Following previously released songs “Aeroplane Bathroom” and “Sandwiches,” “Volcanic” fizzles with a sense of urgency and swirling mania. Payten wrote the track in 2018 while in Sweden, when travelling with her parents and grappling with a new truth in her identity, against the backdrop of a Christian family and Australia’s same-sex marriage vote. The instrumentation came out of hours sitting at the piano behind the kitchen at Berlin’s Michelberger Hotel during PEOPLE Festival, the piano of which made it into the final version on the record (if you listen hard you can hear plates, pots and pans clinking from the kitchen). “Volcanic” is cathartic, driven by Payten’s deeply rich voice and frank lyrics.

“It speaks to a rush of anxiety – about why, about what is real and what is not, about the drama of it, about the vortex of it,” says Payten. “When it surges you can feel paralysed and out of control at the same time – ‘shut down’ and ‘manic.’ Its self-destructive nature can be so crippling. I wanted the song to feel like a wave of anxiety. The tempo never changes but the piano solo starts at half-time and rushes until it is double the speed, though the beat never changes. And then suddenly; it’s over.”

The accompanying video was directed by Madeleine Purdy and shot around Payten’s hometown of Canowindra, mostly on her family’s property.

“Volcanic” the new song by Gordi off ‘Our Two Skins’ out June 26th on Jagjaguwar

Composed for choreography, Gordi’s first full length release is full of dramatic, sweeping gestures, quiet, tender pleas, and grand, longing emotion that would make it a waste not to use in modern dance setting. I dub her under folktronica, the convergence of acoustic guitar, vocal harmonies, and electronic elements. She’s not the first to put these parts together, but she’s one of this year’s best examples of how to do it well.

On the farm in rural Australia where Sophie Payten – AKA Gordi – grew up, there’s a paddock that leads down to a river. A few hundred metres away up the driveway of the property named “Alfalfa” sits another house, which belongs to her 93-year-old grandmother. The rest, she says, “is just beautiful space. And what else would you fill it with if not music?”

And so she did, first tinkling away in her hometown of Canowindra (population 2,381) on the out of tune piano her mother had been given as a wedding present, and then on the acoustic guitar she got for her 12th birthday. As it turned out though, space wasn’t a luxury she’d be afforded for long. At the school she went to just after that same birthday, she shared a dorm room with 26 other girls, listening to Aled Jones on her Discman at night to drown out their chatter. Not that she minded. “It was like a massive sleepover every night,” she says. And besides, her love of music didn’t take long to follow her there.

Gordi’s first foray into songwriting came in the form of performances at the school’s weekly chapel. She’d tell her friends they were written by other artists to ensure they gave honest feedback – though given she was pulling lines from One Tree Hill for lyrics about experiences she was yet to actually have, that feedback wasn’t always glowing. It wasn’t until she started writing about what was happening around her, the friendships she was building and, as is inevitable in the tumult of growing up, breaking, that the chrysalis of the music she’s making now – a brooding, multi-layered blend of electronica and folk, with lyrics that tend to avoid well-trodden paths – began to form. “I often find that writing about platonic relationships,” she says, “can be a great deal more powerful than writing about romantic ones.”

“Heaven I Know,” the first taste of Gordi’s debut album Reservoir, is an example of just that. With the breathy chant of “123” chugging along beneath the song’s sparse melody and melancholic piano chords, “Heaven I Know” gazes at the embers of a fading friendship. “Cause I got older, and we got tired,” she sings, as synthetic twitches, sweeping brass and distorted samples bubble to the surface, “Heaven I know that we tried.”

“I have a really close friend, and she moved to New York last April,” explains Gordi, “and I was absolutely devastated. I sort of don’t have anyone else like that in my life. A few months in, it was just getting so hard, we both had so much going on. Amongst all this, I had a really vivid dream – not that we fought dramatically, I simply got older, and we stopped calling each other, stopped writing to each other and we slowly grew apart. I was struck by the tragedy and simplicity of it and how it happens to everybody at various stages of life. With a friendship, you almost throw more at it than you would a romantic partner, because when a friendship breaks it’s so much more heart-breaking. So it was sort of like we’d thrown everything at it, and in this alternate reality that I dreamed about, we just gave up.”
The ramifications of loss ripple throughout the album, which the 24-year-old wrote and recorded in Wisconsin, Reykjavik, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney during snatched moments while finishing a six year long medicine degree and international touring commitments. Payten produced two of the tracks herself (“Heaven I Know” & “I’m Done”), and co-produced the rest alongside Tim Anderson (Solange, Banks, Halsey), Ben McCarthy, Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey) and Alex Somers (Sigur Ros).
“Long Way,” on which her contralto vocals are layered on top of each other as the sound of a ticking clock lurks underneath, begs of someone, “Can you hear my voice in your bones again? Can you be with me like you were back then?” It’s the first track on the album, and the last song she wrote in the green notebook her parents gave her when she was still at school. There’s a sense of loss too on “I’m Done,” though this time it’s something she’s come to accept. “It feels good to say I’m over you / and mean it more and more each time. / Lock my secrets behind open doors / ‘cause without you I’ll do just fine.” It’s about as close to a stripped-back acoustic song as Gordi’s willing to create, though it sits comfortably alongside beat-heavy electronic numbers. Her songs shift and mutate just as you think you’ve got a hold of them. You’re as likely to hear the squeak of her finger sliding down a guitar fret as you are a shuddering sample, and an organic trumpet sound will be injected with a jagged vocal loop.

But it’s not just loss which comes under the microscope in Reservoir. More so, it’s the journey that particular theme takes when aboard the vehicle of time. The interaction of time and loss is explored throughout, starting with album opener “Long Way”. “Myriad”, a delicately layered track which reaches a drumless climax, delves further, “Dissolve your sorrow / In my skin and bone / Take my tomorrow / It is yours to own”. Even the infectious single “On My Side” questions the prolonging of grievances because of a hesitation to communicate, which ultimately stems from a fear of loss. “Can We Work It Out” similarly opens up on inner conflict.

Boiled down, the running thread of the album is its lyrics, the importance and impact of which cannot be understated. “Lyrics to me are everything,” says Gordi. “Music is kind of what encases this story that you’re trying to tell. The music is obviously what makes people fall in love with a song first, but what eventually speaks to people, whether they know it or not, is the actual words that are being said.” Gordi’s lyrics are stark, honest and soul-searching, which are elevated by the album’s intricate and careful musical arrangements. Like the contemporary artists such as Fleet Foxes, Beth Orton and Laura Marling as well as “the trifecta” of Billy Joel, Carole King and James Taylor that she listened to with her mum growing up – she’s unafraid to sit in contemplative melancholy. It’s what the album title is about. And in the contemplative melancholy remains a conviction that manifests itself through Gordi’s memorable melodies and ambitious production, mastered by pioneers like Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens and Sufjan Stevens.

“The name Reservoir, it’s that thing that you can’t describe, that space that anxious people would probably live their life in. It’s actually an expression my friend and I use. If I’m really down one day, I’ll say, ‘Oh I’m a bit in the reservoir today’. You’re mulling everything over, and you’re sitting in all these thoughts and feelings. In order to be able to write a song I need to go to that place, but I couldn’t live a functional life if I spent all my time in there.”

Writing music, in fact, is the way Gordi lifts herself out of the Reservoir. “Writing music has always been and will remain my therapy, my process and my way of communicating,” she explains. “I don’t write songs by someone else’s prescription, I write to fill my own need. I get this tightness in my chest, and nothing will make it go away other than trying to write lyrics or sitting down at a piano and playing it, and it’s like a medicine. If I have a good session of that, then that tightness and that weight just totally lifts. It just centers me, and gets the things that are riddled through my mind out on paper. And then I can leave them there.”

“Bitter End” off of Gordi’s debut album ‘Reservoir,’ out August 25, 2017 on Jagjaguwar Records.

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument

On the farm in rural Australia where Sophie Payten – AKA Gordi – grew up, there’s a paddock that leads down to a river. A few hundred metres away up the driveway of the property named “Alfalfa” sits another house, which belongs to her 93-year-old grandmother. The rest, she says, “is just beautiful space. And what else would you fill it with if not music?”

“Heaven I Know,” the first taste of Gordi’s debut album “Reservoir”, is an example of just that. With the breathy chant of “123” chugging along beneath the song’s sparse melody and melancholic piano chords, “Heaven I Know” gazes at the embers of a fading friendship. “Cause I got older, and we got tired,” she sings, as synthetic twitches, sweeping brass and distorted samples bubble to the surface, “Heaven I know that we tried.”

Debut album ‘Reservoir’ out 25 August 2017 on Jagjaguwar Records

Gordi

Gordi is a young folk artist we’ve developed a real thing for. Growing up in the small regional town of Canowindra, the singer-songwriter first caught our attention in 2014, when we named her ‘unsigned artist of the week’ then nominated her as Next Big Thing in the FBi SMAC Awards. Fast forward to 2016 and she’s landed an international label deal with Jagjaguwar Records, released this beautiful Courtney Barnett cover, and performed with Bon Iver on Jimmy Fallon.
Gordi — 23 year old Canowindra-born Sophie Payten. It’s music that gets it both ways — ambitious big pop that doesn’t give an inch of artistic concession. Here, wistful aching and longing can almost feel like a spirited celebration. It’s expansive and elegant. The songs on the Sydney-based artist’s debut EP Clever Disguise, which came out earlier this year .