With her captivating new album ‘Psychogeology’ set for release on February 15th 2019 via Bronzerat, Essex-raised, Berlin-based Gemma Ray has shared the album’s broody, enchanting title track. Of the new track, Gemma Ray (who is also known for her distinctive guitar work with Sparks, Alan Vega & most recently The Can Projekt with Peaches & various others) commented: “This song sums up a thread that runs through the record, of how natural architecture can reflect and affect state of mind. It’s a road song, or at least, it was largely written on the road and inspired by driving through epic landscapes whilst touring, particularly in the US and New Zealand. Believe it or not, this originally had a James Brown-style funk rhythm, but I broke it back down into a more expansive mood that is more in keeping with the lyrics.”
“The musicians that joined me on the record are ace (Gris-de-lin, Andy Zammit, Ed Turner), and I was also lucky enough to have another great guest musician with me for this song: the flute is played by Claudio Jolowicz of The Polyversal Souls – a German-Ghanaian/Afrobeat group based in Berlin.”
The word ‘rock’ has many connotations, but for Gemma Ray, the most important is probably not the one you’d expect most musicians to nurse. The Essex-raised, Berlin-based singer and songwriter clings to its most fundamental definition, insisting that, when she takes to the road – as she did almost unremittingly in the year following the release of her last album, 2016’s acclaimed ‘The Exodus Suite’ – she find the time to explore the landscape that touring can reveal. In Ray’s world, the word conjures up images of the grand, twisted formations she’s seen while travelling the world, whether in the immense deserts of the US or among the carved mountains of New Zealand.
It’s the development of Ray’s emotional connection to such spectacular scenes that lies deep at the heart of ‘Psychogeology’, which, in keeping with its subject matter, represents Ray’s most ambitious release to date, its intricate arrangements and textures – including choral and string arrangements – the result of almost a year’s labour determinedly hewn from rare periods of time available between tours. The album, she says, is “an ode to the majesty of landscape, the enormity of nature and time, and the inevitability of every human life eventually forming a minuscule part of further landscapes.”
Ray has worked alongside, among others, Sparks (who in fact produced Ray covering their own songs), Suicide’s Alan Vega (their collaboration turned out to be one of his final recordings), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Thomas Wydler (The Bad Seeds) and arranger Fiona Brice. She was also invited to perform with Potsdam, Germany’s legendary Filmorchester Babelsberg, and this December she’ll join them again, this time with Peaches, Einstürzende Neubauten’s Jochen Arbeit and other special guests as part of The Can Projekt, a celebration of ground-breaking ‘krautrock ‘pioneers Can taking place at Berlin’s famed Volksbühne Theatre.
Gemma Ray UK live dates: Feb 28: Ramsgate Music Hall Mar 1: Leek, Foxlowe Arts Centre Mar 2: Hebden Bridge, Trades Club Mar 3: Newcastle, Cobalt Mar 5: London, Dalston Victoria
‘Psychogeology’ track list: 1. Blossom Crawls 2. Death Tapes 3. It’s Only Loneliness 4. In Colour 5. Flood Plains 6. Psychogeology 7. Land of Make Believe 8. Dreaming is Easy 9. Roll On River 10. Summer Comes
‘Psychogeology’ is available to pre-order here: https://bit.ly/2KVehet