Tess Roby’s explorative brand of electronic music continues to remain unique and visionary. A classically trained vocalist and a self-taught synth player, her songs ride the lines between pop, ambient and alternative folk structures, with an emphasis on voice as instrument. Her forthcoming sophomore album, Ideas of Space, comes in a process of moving towards full artistic independence. Roby acts as songwriter, producer, musician, music video and art director; and the album will be released on her own record label, SSURROUNDSS.
“All this time alone, it has taught me one thing” Tess Roby says, “How to feel alive.” Ideas of Space pulls the listener into the artist’s inner world; where the mind is a room and the body, a house. Dualities of light and dark, heavy and effervescent, physical and nonphysical pass back and forth into each other. Roby writes intuitively: her lyrics drift between dreams, memories and reality, and are brought to life by the rich intimacy of her voice. Circling loops of synth rise and fall alongside interweaving vocal patterns, building effortlessly to create minimal yet complex soundscapes.
From her debut album, Beacon (2018), to Ideas of Space, one can hear a growing confidence: the production is fuller-bodied and the structures more expansive. Inclusion of drums, woodwinds and cello from collaborators Austin Tufts (Braids), Joseph Shabason and Ouri add intricate textures to Roby’s sonic landscapes. From the hypnotic urgency of title track “Ideas of Space” to the cinematic ambiance of “Euphoria in August”, the album shifts effortlessly from jubilant highs to contemplative lows, echoing the concepts of duality which run throughout the record. As the triumphant album cover announces, the music celebrates the flow of life in all its contradictions; her face bathed in light, her body framed in shadow.