GPSYMTH - Ripostes
Record Label: Stars & Letters
Release Date: October 30, 2012
What do you listen for in music? I love it when I find music that's like nothing I've ever heard before, music that makes me stop and just say "Wow." It was a feeling I got when first hearing Bon Iver's Bon Iver or Explosions In The Sky's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. It was also a feeling I got when I first heard GPSYMTH's Ripostes.
GPSYMTH (Gipsy Moth) is Peter Quinn and Ripostes (ri-pohst) is his celestial nine track anthology, a collection of poems delivered in a true indie fashion. His music is unlike anything in my library; it's an extension to something truly different.
The record begins with the panoramic "Hamilton," a charming canter which introduces both Quinn's stunning lyricism and integrative musicianship. Placing "traditional" singing aside, Quinn embraces a fascination for Imagist poetry throughout Ripostes, while creating a digital membrane between his tongue and the listener's ear. "Hamilton" possesses a refrain that stood out immediately: "When a child sits on a spiral grave / I wish upon ﬁxed eyes so I can see the dirt / And only the dirt, in which my feet we buried / And only the dirt, in which my kin we merry."
The beginning of "Easter Island" sounds like a lost interlude from Mylo Xyloto until launching into a cavalcade of illusory vocals, synthesizers, and fitful drumming. Peter's lyrics can be so subtle at times, almost a shadow to the blend of sounds that float in and out of his music. I wish they were more audible because, once perceived, they became some of the best lyrics I've heard in a long time. Vocal melodies these days can become so prominent, that my ear sometimes overlooks the instrumentation behind a song. Quinn has managed to alter this effect in such a way that makes listening effortless.
The nautically twisted "From Blue To Black," hosts an intro that reminded me of "The Goonies" or "Neverending Story." It's perhaps the best example of the ephemeral melodies mentioned above. After looking at the lyrics, my mind became flooded with visions of shipwreck and loneliness at sea. The final stanza is one of my favorites: "Who will claim my body / I wonder, / The air or the sea."
"Bethel" is a song so simple, yet so packed with meaning. For reasons I couldn't even explain to myself, it stood out as a favorite from my first listen. It's just begging to be input into an independent filmmaker's breakthrough release. Coincidentally, when asking Peter about this song, he responded: "...Bethel is my favorite song too. Initially, I used it as a score for a short film that I had to make for school. Eventually, I decided to put it on the album, but I felt that no vocal track would feel natural with it. So I just left it as an instrumental, but I'm glad that it's a little bit different than every other song."
If you're new to GPSYMTH, "Brewster" is a good place to start. A part of the impressing back end, it's one of the more tangible songs on the album, expressing a strong Passion Pit and M83 vibe. The foreboding first notes carry the song beneath an assault of masterfully mixed sounds. "Brewster" is very catchy and a highlight of the record.
"Villa Giselle" brings a forty-seven minute journey to an introspective close. It may be the most personal song on the record. Quinn relaxes his sound a bit, but lays it on thick with poetic wonder: "To the mountains / And beyond, Iʼll ride my ship. Kissing coral clouds / Up on the peaks / Seeing sights above men / that no man should see... I have no ties to be cut/ No creations to be burned/ Iʼve accepted my life/ Separation is what I yearn."
Ripostes is an invigorating, eye-opening, and introspective explosion of sound and poetry. A complete removal from what I've been listening to, it's been a blessing upon my ears.