Young Sydney-via-Canowindra musician Gordi has announced the full details of her debut album Reservoir for release this August 25. The album was written solely by Gordi and co-produced alongside Tim Anderson (Solange/Banks), Ali Chant (Perfume Genius/PJ Harvey) and Alex Somers (Sigur Ros). It was recorded in Wisconsin, Reykjavik, Los Angeles, New York, and Sydney.
To coincide with the announcement, new teaser single, ‘Heaven I Know’ was premiered on triple j’s 2017 with Richard Kingsmill on Sunday night. It was one of two tracks on the LP produced solely by herself and is out now. A stripped back performance of ‘Heaven I Know’ is now live on Facebook. It was filmed at St Pancras Old Church in London.
Gordi is the moniker of Sophie Payten, who grew up in the tiny NSW farming town of Canowindra. Her story, which has only truly just begun has already taken Gordi from this remotest of rural outposts to performing alongside her new friends and collaborators Bon Iver on US television, and now clutching this remarkable debut collection of shimmering leftfield pop songs.
Gordi’s first foray into songwriting came in the form of performances at her school’s weekly assembly. 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.”
“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 centres me, and gets the things that are riddled through my mind out on paper. And then I can leave them there.”
Gordi’s voice and her music very quickly caught the attention of her label-mates Bon Iver who asked her to perform backing vocals for them during their performance of 8 (Circle) on the Jimmy Fallon US tv show at the tail end of last year. Gordi returned the favour with a quite breathtaking acapella cover of 00000 Million which you can listen to HERE. She has also toured with the likes of Asgeir, The Tallest Man on Earth, Highasakite, Local Natives and Of Monsters and Men. The record also features a special collaboration with longtime Bon Iver band member S. Carey.
As an opening statement, Reservoir is a compelling listen that plays fondly with textures and leftfield rhythms, but crucially, at its very heart is melody in abundance.
Reservoir follows the release of Gordi’s debut EP, Clever Disguise. She already boasts a number of impressive accolades to her name, having previously received nominations for a triple j j award and two FBi SMAC awards and recently finding herself the proud recipient of $15,000 from PPCA/ Australia Council for the continued pursuit of her art.
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