Gabby’s World is the music and lyrical world-building project of Gabrielle Smith. Smith began making music in 2007, constructing songs and ambient soundscapes out of experimental aural building blocks. Over the years, Smith’s songwriting has matured, focusing in on her interest in folk melodic and lyrical traditions while also developing a keen pop sensibility. The resulting music, showcased in albums like 2015’s O.K. , carefully treads the dynamic lines between expansiveness and intimacy, with a sound defined by emotional urgency and upbeat pop danceability. Lyrically, Smith's songs are baroque, drawing from themes more in line with the romantic poets than with contemporary pop songwriters. Smith’s newest musical pseudonym Gabby’s World emerges after an extended hiatus and hibernation period in which Smith reevaluated many of her values and ideas about art.
Beast on Beast , the first album under the name Gabby’s World, deepens and complicates the stakes of Smith’s work even further, and will be released in late 2018.
Beast on Beast was recorded live in summer 2017 at Gravesend Studios in Brooklyn, the studio space in the since closed Silent Barn DIY venue. Engineered and mixed by Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader of the Brooklyn art-rock band Ava Luna, the album captures the energetic live sound Smith has honed over the years with her band, a group of three accomplished songwriters of their own right: Oliver Kalb of Bellows, Felix Walworth of Told Slant, and Jack Greenleaf of Sharpless. The album showcases the energy and musical communication of the live band while simultaneously showcasing Smith's skill as a string and harmony arranger, featuring layered and complex violin sections and choral harmony singing that evoke a full orchestra underlining and bolstering the band's kinetic immediacy. Smith and Kalb produced the album over the course of fall 2017, adding layers of guitar noise and vocal harmonies, string and choral arrangements, and many musical contributions from friends, including Yoni Wolf of WHY?, Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos, Luke Jenner of The Rapture, and Alex Bleeker of Real Estate.
Bellows is the bedroom recording project of songwriter and producer Oliver Kalb. The sound of Bellows is sensory and delicate, subtle and quiet, but erupts with frantic wobbling drums, large orchestral sections and bursts of noise that push the conventions of pop and folk. Started in late 2010 in a bedroom in upstate New York, Bellows has since blossomed from a solo recording experiment into a large-scale rock band, employing the help of friends to bring Kalb's intimate home recordings to life on stage in sweeping, loud, and intense live performances. ??
Bellows has been writing and self-producing records for the better part of the last decade, recording four full length albums and multiple shorter collections of song-a-day projects in the years since 2011’s As If To Say I Hate Daylight, a quietly brooding album recorded on a single microphone, for which Kalb challenged himself to create a large, fully orchestrated blanket of sounds without the use of synthesizers or any digital sounds. Over the next eight years, Bellows’ palate of sounds has expanded and changed with each successive album. On Blue Breath (2014), which Kalb recorded over the course of three years in several cities across the United States, dozens of strange sounds were layered over would-be humble folk songs, resulting in a soaring pop record that tread the line between minuscule and gigantic. Blue Breath was named one of Bob Boilen of NPR's All Songs Considered's favorite records of 2014. Bellows’ third album Fist & Palm (2016) meditated on the ending of a friendship, contrasting its stark and gutting lyrics with warm pop and dance-music based orchestrations of fluttering synthesizers, drum machines, choir harmonies and strings. Fist & Palm was featured twice on Stereogum’s 100 Best Songs of 2016 list. ??
The Rose Gardener, Bellows’ fourth full-length album and the project’s first for Topshelf Records, is a four-part journey through the uncanny valley of deep psychological disorder and pain. Self-recorded over the course of a single winter while Kalb was living in Woodstock, NY, The Rose Gardener invokes a bright and pastoral landscape of Americana and folk, with lyrics influenced by a strange pairing of Romantic Poetry and deeply modern interrogations of internet pop-culture discourse. The uncanniness of The Rose Gardener comes from the odd pairing of this bright Americana musical foundation with the album’s dark, bubbling substructure of noise, synthesizers, sampling and vocal manipulation that together create a feeling of paranoia and danger around every corner; as if the album’s narrator cannot escape his plummeting into the dark however much its songs push to remain in the bright rose garden of beauty and creation. The Rose Gardener pushes and clarifies the musical ambitions that began with Fist & Palm, resulting in a deep psychological interrogation of isolation and narcissism that sounds just as at home alongside singers from the traditional American songbook like The Carter Family as it does alongside contemporary pop and dance music.The Rose Gardener will be released in February 2019 by Topshelf Records.