Music

Georgia: Georgia

Andrew Crowley
Photo: Laura Coulson

Like other musical omnivores before her, Georgia is distilling the essence of music of the period.


Georgia

Georgia

Label: Domino
Release Date: 2015-08-07
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Like other musical omnivores before her, Georgia is distilling the essence of music of the period. At times the resulting album makes clear her influences, but never to the point it wears out its welcome. Her self-titled debut on Domino calls to mind watershed records such as Mellow Gold by Beck and Kala by M.I.A. Albums that captured the mood and politics of the time, trapping its essence in amber. Hit play on "Loser" and memories of indifference and angst of Generation Xers comes rushing back. One can almost smell the patchouli and flannel. When "Paper Planes" comes up on shuffle on your MP3, flashes of the waning years of Bush II come rushing by. So too does Georgia, which along with offering a satisfying blend of the major sonic trends, also picks up on the tension and uncertainty of 2015.

Every instrument on Georgia is the result of two years of labor, is played by her. It’s a credit to her craft and attention to detail, the resulting offering is sonically and musically expansive, drawing from a wide range of sources and reconciling disparate genres and musical traditions into a cohesive whole that serves as the perfect soundtrack for the halfway mark of the 2010s.

Georgia is a gifted musical polymath, having played drums since she was two-years old. She studied music at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London while also working at Rough Trade. One cliche about debut works is that artists tend to wear their influences on their sleeves. It’s not really the case with Georgia, you can tell what music fell in love with, but it all feels very fresh and vital.

“Kombine,” the first real song after the a short introductory track, has the spacey, electro-futuristic vibe of the Timbaland/Miss Elliott partnership that produced so many indelible songs. The production is elaborate, but never busy to the point of overwhelming the listener or fatiguing the ears.

“Be Ache” really shows off the influence of Grime on Georgia. Grime had its heyday in the UK in the early-2000s, a fusion of hip-hop, dancehall, UK garage, as well as drum and bass. “Be Ache” would be ideal to bump in a dance club, the production washes over the ears and picks up on threads of romantic longing, it is vulnerable but never weak.

“Nothing Solutions” has a bassline so rubbery it bounces and snaps like chewing gum. “Hold It” displays Georgia’s knack for when to treat her vocals and when not to, the pitch-altered vocals opening the song add a lovely, low end timbre to the record. “Digits” features a nice incorporation of gamelan. It’s adds a really interesting texture as there really isn’t anything similar in Western music. “Cab Ride” is a brief interlude that serves a nod to the cab driver who gave Georgia a mixtape of Pakistan Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music. “Tell Me About It” is a swampy synth-driven banger, that sounds like the middle of a crowded dance floor, warm bodies pressing against each other, everyone drunk on liquor and the energy of the moment. A late night slow jam if there ever was one.

“Move Systems” opens with a twinkling music box and then suddenly, Georgia declares, “All right, I’m out” and things change instantly, the lightness of the opening replaced with heavier, denser soundscape. “Heart Wrecking Systems” lets off a little on the intensity of the previous cuts and shows Georgia’s knack for crafting a tender ballad, one that calls to mind the occasional existential crises or sudden bouts of loneliness that come about on a night on the town. It’s the perfect listen for the solo Uber ride home. “GMTL” and “You” are serviceable penultimate and ultimate tracks, but it feels like “Heart Wrecking Systems” might have served as a better album closer as anything that follows was going to pale in comparison.

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