Sonically Loom is not a wholescale departure from previous album Color. Both records contain passages of sky-scraping, almost shoegaze-esque textures wedded to the sort of punch-through-the-monitors beat programming one finds in the work of Gately’s new labelmate Aïsha Devi. Gately’s voice exists at the centre of these maximalist soundscapes on tracks like ‘Allay’ and ‘Waltz’, both of which sound as if they could have been abstracted from Björk’s Vulnicura - a record Gately has remixed in the past. Plenty has happened to Katie Gately since she dropped her debut LP Color via Tri Angle Records in 2016 - she’s remixed Zola Jesus and produced for serpentwithfeet, for instance - but there has surely been no greater upheaval in her life than the death of her mother in 2018. This loss is at the core of her second album Loom, released through Houndstooth.
Where Loom differs from Color is in its use of space and weightlessness. While Color opened with the ambitious and beat-driven ‘Lift, Loom’s opening cut ‘Ritual’ is more cautious and cerebral. Beginning with Gately singing acapella, the track blossoms into the sort of heavenly drone piece that Abul Mogard (or even Arvo Pärt) would be pleased with. ‘Ritual’ is not the only track like this on the album - ‘Rite’ and ‘Rest’ do something similar. The fact that this trio come at the start, middle and end of Loom feels significant, almost as if their beatific vistas allow Gately to take stock of the situation at hand.
Katie Gately channels personal loss into a record of dramatic and often beautiful electronic composition.