Homespun: .E's Of Crashing Symbols

May 7, 2015 at 11:32 am

If you've thought of Dottie Georges as an experimental artist, you only know part of the story -- those off-kilter impulses are most often deployed in the service of her rock- and pop-indebted music. Of course, if you've thought about Dottie Georges at all in the past few years, you are already in the know: The one-woman band known as .e had a fruitful start to the decade, but she's been mostly quiet these past few years, save for a few stray digital missives. Her debut full-length, Of Crashing Symbols, puts an end to that long dormant period. Serving as an introduction for some and a welcome reminder for others, the record stands to be an epiphany for many who fall under the confident, if unassuming, sway of Georges' shifting compositions and feathery vocals. The electric guitar is her weapon of choice, and she can use it to paint her songs with moody, shoegaze-inspired strokes. But she's equally adept at synthesis and programming, and even the most spare of these nine tracks sizzles with electronic pulses and synaptic shimmers.

Because this is the first time listeners have had a chance to sit with a complete .e recording (available on vinyl and CD as well as download), Georges takes the opportunity to display her range in her typically subdued fashion. "A Way (to Float) Away," with its shambling structure, lightly chorused guitar and bouncy bass, could have fit on a C86 or Sarah Records comp. If kids still made early-summer mix tapes for their crushes, this would be a side-A centerpiece. A few songs later, the insistent drum programming and sub-octave distortion of "Click" finds Georges at her most aggressive. Many of these works strike a balance between these two poles, recalling the British dreaminess of Lush while channeling the digital unease of EMA. When .e stretches into purely electronic territory, the music reflects a similarly overcast mood with a new palette of tones. The bottom-heavy "Arp" shows Georges' skill at nuanced, kinetic programming -- the pitter-pat drum machine and thumpy groove play well together. The following track, "PS," turns tail with jazzy guitar chords and dulcet harmonics, but that breezy intro serves as a background for simple and squelchy synth work. These moves are less a bait-and-switch than an honest convergence of Georges' talents and interests, as she strives to make room for both pop and experimentalism in the same song.

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