Montreal musician and photographer Tess Roby channels a sublime and dreamy electronic pop noise, filled with wobbly synths and drum machines that once belonged to her father. She seems to pull these sounds down from some infinite heavenly place, or maybe the deepest recesses of our own collective consciousness. Her voice is persuasive and honest, a thing of beauty that easily slips past your defenses before easing down into the contours of your bones. Her vocal approach and power makes complete sense when you realize that she is a 8-year veteran of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company.
Roby will release her debut record, "Beacon," on May 4 via Italians Do It Better. Written in 2015 following the death of her father, the album was created in collaboration with her brother as they attempted to mold a spiritual homage to the memory of their dad and to the Beacon in Lancashire, England where her family made many trips before his passing. Built in 1798 as a watch tower to warn of French incursions during the Napoleonic War, it's always held a special place in Roby's life. "Throughout my life I have felt the pull to return to it,” she says. “I’m beckoned by father’s roots and by the sullen landscape of fields leading to the coast."
On her new single, "Catalyst," she inhabits a world of crystalline synths, gorgeous vocal melodies and vast emotional canyons. There's a minimalist aesthetic at work here -- she doesn't attempt to overwhelm your senses but merely allows the sounds to gather their force and wash over you at their discretion. The accompanying video was directed by Roby and Hugo Bernier on Super 8 Film and evokes distant memories and home movies. Its gentle contemplation and feeling of half-remembered histories are a perfect companion to Roby's tender voice and the latticed rhythms that echo from her heart.
Check out the video, as well as her upcoming tour dates, below.
04.19 Sala Rossa, Montreal, QC (Album launch show)
04.21 918 Bathurst, Toronto, ON (Album launch show)
05.18 Moog Fest, Durham, NC
05.19 Moog Fest, Durham, NC
05.21. Union Stage, Washington, DC w/Carla Dal Forno
05.24 Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA w/Carla Dal Forno
05.25 Whistle Shop, San Diego, CA w/ Carla Dal Forno
05.26 Resident, Los Angeles, CA w/Carla Dal Forno
05.27 The Chapel, San Francisco, CA w/Carla Dal Forno
05.28 The Minplex, Arcata, CA w/Carla Dal Forno
05.29 Holocene, Portland, OR w/ Carla Dal Forno
05.30 Timbre Room, Seattle, WA w/ Carla Dal Forno
06.01 Double Double Land, Toronto, ON w/Carla Dal Forno