I don’t fit neatly into a genre. I wanted to make an album that really represented that and spoke to that. – India Gailey
A scientific term that describes a species that defies easy categorization within taxonomic classifications, “problematica” resonated with Gailey on both a musical and identity level, reflecting their intentional choice to collaborate with composers from diverse artistic backgrounds.
“I don’t fit neatly into a genre,” Gailey says, emphasizing the eclectic nature of their musical identity. “I wanted to make an album that really represented that and spoke to that.”
Gailey commissioned each track on the album, providing composers with a broad theme of “in-betweenness” and allowing them the freedom to interpret it in their unique ways. This collaborative approach resulted in a cohesive yet diverse collection of compositions.
“I wasn’t actually sure how all the pieces might fit together as an album since I didn’t know what any of the music sounded like until a year ago, but it somehow worked,” they say.
Beyond the thematic in-betweenness, Gailey identified an aesthetic arc marked by organic and electronic elements in the album. With themes of botany, trees, and mushrooms thread through the music, the album art became a visual representation of these themes, mirroring the layered and manipulated sounds of the music.
A significant departure from her previous work, Problematica sees Gailey incorporating her voice more prominently. “I think maybe half the tracks involved voice in some way,” she says. “One of the songs is even almost a pop song, and the Nicole Lizée piece [Grotesquerie] is one that has a bit of yelling, which was fun.”
The album embraces experimentation, utilizing electronics, guitar pedals, layered cello recordings, and environmental sounds to enrich the sonic landscape.
When asked about a favourite track, Gailey highlighted the uniqueness of Julia Mermelstein’s composition Bending, breaking through, noting its live, processed electronics with MaxMSP. However, her favourite is Sarah Rossy’s I Long, which they described as a powerful collaboration that blends their artistic voices.
Gailey is gearing up for a series of live performances in support of the new album, where adapting the complex studio recordings for the stage requires extensive practice. Gailey explained her live setup, involving a surround sound system with pre-recorded tracks, live cello, and live processing—an intricate yet exciting challenge for the artist.
Looking ahead, Gailey is embarking on a tour, taking her music to Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and Guelph. The journey will culminate with a concert at The Peggy Corkrum Music Room in Halifax on February 21 as part of the Scotia Festival of Music’s Chamber Players Series.
To be released on February 23 on the indie People, Places, Records label, Probelmatica is now available for pre-order as a digital download and a limited edition CD. Visit peopleplacesrecords.bandcamp.com for more information.