Katie Gately
Pipes (Blue Eight) [CS; Blue Tapes]

Katie Gately unlocks both the beauties and horrors contained within her own voice, as if her throat were Pinhead’s puzzle box, opening up the gateway to a brain-busting nightmare of obsessive-compulsions. Pipes is composed entirely from her own processed pipes, chopped/screwed/chiseled/mashed/smashed/smeared into jigsaw pieces and reassembled into a series of bizarre sonic sculptures. The music’s pacing is obscenely rapid, so it can be difficult to grasp the various hooks and passages in passing, an impatient composition with sections of rhythmic bounce dissolving quickly into eardrum-crushing drones, then onto streaks of distorted harmonic bliss and then exotic/erotic melodic-minor meandering, then pummeling barrages of vocal shrapnel. Maybe in that order? I can’t be sure. Notes ping-pong between different textures and stereo channels, whirligig swoops of sound jump off of plodding bass like an aerobic trampoline, and me…? I’m in the middle of it all, completely fucking exhausted. Gately distinguishes her work between “sound designs” and “music,” on her website, but if you ask me, Pipes is an indication that more often than not, she’s doing both at the same time. A truly inspired, utterly unique musical approach, Gately’s vocal collages reconfigure the instrumental qualities of the human voice in ways I don’t think any of us are really ready to fully comprehend yet. Music that has evolved two generations beyond what we know. Maybe we’ll call this a masterpiece in a billion years, but for now it’s an astounding anomaly we can neither categorize, nor juxtapose with anything else happening today, so I’m not even gonna try. But I’m willing to say this much: Pipes is absolutely amazing.


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