Emotion Machine is the first collaboration between Paula Rae Gibson, a prolific artist renowned for her photography, lyricism and ethereal vocal work, and highly acclaimed composer and pianist Kit Downes. Downes’ minimal, abstract arrangements of sombre piano meditations and Arthur Russell-esque cello experimentation blend with Gibson’s idiosyncratic vocals to create a sense of emotional urgency - a raw, distressing honesty is prevalent throughout the album. Drawing inspiration from Delta Blues, Icelandic Art Rock and Early Music, the sonic world created is both inviting and menacing, giving the perfect template for Gibson’s lyrics of love, loss and the various fuels of the Emotion Machine.
This is the fifth album from Paula Rae Gibson; having previously collaborated with Will Gregory of Goldfrapp, and well known figures in the jazz world such as Ivo Neame and Martyn Baker. Paula has approached music with the bold expressiveness that her photography is known for, ranging from bossa-inspired jazz pieces to free form experimentation. On Emotion Machine a new level of sonic abstraction is achieved; casting aside the more traditional jazz structure her earlier work had been based around, dissonant drones and ominous sound design cast a spectre over this album. Space is left for expressions to linger, in what is clearly Gibson’s most abstract work to date.
Most of the instrumentation on the album is the work of Kit Downes; a London based composer, pianist and organist who has worked with the likes of Squarepusher, Seb Rochford and Aidan O’Rourke. A BBC Jazz Award winning, Mercury Music Award nominated solo recording artist for ECM Records, Downes’ reputation speaks for itself - this recording marks his first journey into production, and a return to his childhood instruments; the piano and cello. The blending of his instrumentation with the abstracted arrangement of Gibson’s vocals is a testament to his skill as a composer, the broad sonic spectrum of the record underlining his talent as a producer.
Further contributions come from Tom Challenger (saxophone), Ruth Goller (double bass) and James Maddren (drums). Each piece of music will be accompanied by a video produced by Gibson, moving the concepts of the work beyond the sonic realm.
“Sometimes recalling Annette Peacock’s early bloodletting or late Scott Walker, Gibson rivetingly channels raw emotion over Downes’s abstract piano/cello/electronic drone backdrops… …Frequently spectacular.” [Electronic Sound]
"From the ethereal to the contralto, beautifully gossamer to ominously discordant, ‘Emotion Machine’ is an efflux between the timeless and contemporary. Conceptually and artistically pushing the musical boundaries, as much a performance piece as cerebral exploration of the voice, Gibson and Downes interchange their disciplines to produce an evocative suite of poignant expressive heartache and drama." [Monolith Cocktail]
"Emotion Machine is an extraordinary album. For every otherworldly throb or passage of avant-garde dissonance there is a moment of human closeness." [The Third Ear]
"Think the imagery of Nic Roeg, Sylvia Plath, Kate Bush, the cold shock of the afternotes of an unguessable Keith Jarrett chord that never needs to resolve." [Marlbank]
“The abstract minimalist arrangements bring to mind the eerily detached broken-songs of Scott Walker or Carla Bozulich… …it stands as a powerfully honest expression of self doubt and grief.” [Whisperin’ and Hollering’]
“An album of beautifully controlled understatement… …Gibson's delivery reminds me a little of the emotional yet controlled work of Carla Bozulich (high praise!) or PJ Harvey. Downes' playing and arrangements are the perfect foil for Gibson - dark, cavernous, entirely without melodrama.” [Utility Fog]
released November 2, 2018
Paula Rae Gibson - vocals, lyrics
Kit Downes - piano, cello
Tom Challenger - tenor sax [4,8]
Ruth Goller - double bass [4,8]
James Maddren - drums 
Recorded by Nick Pugh
Mastered by Alex Bonney
Produced and mixed by Kit Downes
Slowfoot is a South London based record label that explores the boundaries between popular and experimental
"The London label Slowfoot has evolved organically by occupying the grooves between genres... ....in the last decade Slowfoot's roster of acts and releases has coalesced into an eclectic home for music that might otherwise fall between cracks, but always hits the groove." [The Wire]...more