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Photo: Tess Roby
Photo: Tess Roby

Gayance’s Debut EP Is A Tiny Treasure of Textures

The Montreal DJ flexes her producer muscles with a defiant collection of tracks.

by Atsushi Ikeda

It’s amazing what some artists can do in just 10 minutes. Gayance’s new three-song EP, No Toning Down, swims from one texture to the next with such errant playfulness. Packed with RnB coos, Brazilian bounce, skittery IDM beats, pounding house drums, and slinking wah guitar samples, the title seems perfect for new fans and critics alike, playing out as a promise to the former, and a stiff middle finger to the latter. In fact, the EP could just as easily have been named after its second and best track of the bunch, “Kinda Strange.” 

Whether it’s the low-down, kick-and-rimshot lurch of the first song “Meu Soul” or the skeletal stop-and-go beat that starts the next, the first few seconds of each lays down a centre of groove/gravity, a perfunctory pulse for Gayance to draw concentric and eccentric circles around whatever ideas might work. What about a sudden synth bass to anchor her fluid voice lost in a tangle of shakers? Or a drawn-out, haunting vocal loop set against a noodly funk guitar bit that sounds like a fill from a 70s-era Herbie Hancock record? How delightful that Gayance gives her answer over these three songs, each stylistic swerve a letter gradually spelling it out: “Why not?”