From a young age, Georgia Barnes has been exposed to music. Her father, Neil, was one-half Leftfield, who were one of the early pioneers of contemporary dance and electronic music. Whereas Leftfield created high-intensity dance music, Georgia – or GEoRGiA as it is written for her music project – has lowered the volume and stripped down the beats and dubs to create a downtempo, electro-pop sound. Her approach has resulted in her being compared to Vancouver’s Grimes and FKA Twigs and rightfully so. And similar to these stars, GEoRGiA has taken her feelings of heartache and resent of certain people and isolated them into an album that is rough on the edges at the times and stunningly hypnotic at others.
What adds to the gravitation towards GEoRGiA’s music is that she doesn’t restrict herself to electronic. On “Kombine”, for instance, she incorporates Middle Eastern textures at the beginning of the track to grab the listener’s attention before moving into a trippy array of beats on a vengeful song. “Digits” is similarly a kaleidoscope of sounds and beats. With a slow trance, dark ethereal mood, and the addition of a hallow vocal companion, the song echoes of Massive Attack’s brilliance.
“Be Ache” is the start of a trifecta of songs that is startling for GEoRGiA’s honesty. The track speaks of how the end of relationship has made her feel entrapped. She sings, All alone / Now I’ll never be free / You’re making me the enemy. “Nothing Solutions” and “Hold It” further accentuate GEoRGiA’s feelings of a relationship on the verge of termination and the impact it has had on her.
The highlight of the album is the percussion-driven “Move Systems”. Dark, dense, and absolutely intoxicating, the song builds on GEoRGiA’s drumming days, and the heavier sound mixes with the heavier beats add an industrial feel. The song also differs in its theme, moving away from a single individual to focusing on the controlling nature of our “systems” – whether moral, legal, bureaucratic. The version created with Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa is remarkable, giving the song a darker, heavier sound reminiscent of Crystal Castles.
The latter three tracks are more lush and soothing, although they still reflect the album’s main themes – heartbreak, loss, and resent. “GMTL” sees GEoRGiA incorporate a number of different beats and pulses, but each one distinctively heard from the other. It’s the song that best demonstrates GEoRGiA’s masterful production work. “Heart Wrecking Animal” and the closer “You” are the most stripped down tracks, where the beats and electronic-produced sounds are minimized. Instead, GEoRGiA allows her voice to carry the songs. They have the feel of bedroom-pop songs, as her voice is whispery and intimate which leads to a sorrowful, almost regretful tone.
This vast array of sounds and approaches and the incorporation of various textures offer a promising glimpse into the GEoRGiA’s future. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she’s not relying on a single arrangement or blow-out-your-ears synths and beats. Instead, she’s blowing people away with subtlety, complexity, and intimacy.
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