There’s something alternately smoky and ethereal in this debut album by Gaze Is Ghost, who so far has such an appropriately elusive online presence that all I know about her is that she’s a Paris-based singer-songwriter with a changing pen name (her previous one was ‘Inigo’). Her songs, however, have clearly been in progress for a long time: they are beautiful and unpredictable, full of inventive swells and twists of sound, and grab the attention, as does her voice; she moves from low to high notes with effortless grace.
Opening song ‘Coco Lico’ veers from soulful saxophones to a transcendent eeriness evoking flights of birds. ‘Invisible Cities’ deploys its high notes thrillingly, and builds layers of sound into something at once celebratory and ominous. ‘Pistorius’ begins in a way that suggests it will be brooding and slow, then suddenly picks up pace and goes into a syncopated drum beat groove. The vocal part of ‘Cloud Hidden’ would be great sung in a jazz club at midnight, but there are added flurries of strings and drum-beats that make it nearly orchestral in texture.
Lovely as these opening tracks are, they start to get into a familiar pattern of slowly swelling and shifting soundscapes, so the next song ‘Grounding Exercise No. 1’ is startling: it opens with a rapid, harsh drums and is full of sitars, harshly-strummed guitars and and thudding beats. I wish it went on much longer. ‘Magnus’ is different again, more dominated by vocals, and pacy; it reminds me a little of Kate Bush in its rambunctious energy and the high pitch of the voice. ‘In Love Of Post Apocalyptic Watch Towers’ (what a title) is back in slower, more soulful, piano-led territory: ‘we eat all the night till there’s no more of it’, she sings. There’s a sense of the moon rising. Final song ‘Firefly’ is gorgeously triumphant. This is the most interesting introduction I’ve had to a new artist in a long time, with barely any hype around her, just a flurry out of nowhere. Worth your attention.
Words by Becky Varley-Winter