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This piece is part of the Algorhythms project: artists telling stories about music they discovered from humans. Because where we discover music is an important part of its impact, and not all music is discovered through an algorithm.

KatieJane Garside on Leonard Bernstein

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KatieJane Garside (credit: Whittingham)

“I know what turns me on, and it’s that fine line, that point where you’re falling off the edge of a cliff, where your stomach turns, I’m always trying to find that point in music.” — KatieJane Garside

If music is the hub of a wheel and each genre a spoke extending outwards, the rim is that fine line. It’s spinning fastest, barely holding on to the road, and without it, we wouldn’t get very far.

Throughout her career, KatieJane Garside has sought to be at the edge of that wheel, creating freely and inspiring others to join her there. For good reason, Courtney Love called her one of the three instigators of the “Riot Grrrl” scene — Courtney, of course, being another. Garside’s voice is mercurial and impassioned, from whisper to scream she remains rapturous. It’s a voice that’s fronted sundry projects: post-punk outfit Daisy Chainsaw, alternative rock band Queenadreena, and the gentler duo Ruby Throat. Today she helms liar, flower, a reincarnation of Ruby Throat that treads similarly mellow waters — with just a bit of her erstwhile might. The duo released their first full-length, Geiger Counter, just a few weeks ago.

For her Algorhythm, KatieJane poetically recalls a childhood at sea, disconnected from the outside world with a box of cassettes from her grandfather…

i went to sea on a tiny 32 ft sailboat with my family when i was eleven years of age in 1982
for two years we were crossing oceans eventually sailing around the world
we did this with no radio or communication system to the outside world of any kind
as a parting gift my paternal grandfather had given us a box of cassette tapes diligently copied from his own record collection…including most importantly the west side story soundtrack by leonard bernstein, along with soundtracks from some of the other great musicals
my little sister (maple bee also a singer and musician) and i would spend our endless (apparently) empty hours playing with our rag dolls (hand made by me) making up stories to these soundtracks to illustrate the music…(we did not see the screen plays til many years later) and our young brains were simply allowed to be ‘made of stories’…this is what made up the world for us in extended periods of sometimes very uncomfortable weather conditions and isolation…
what a priceless gift our parents gave us to be so free with our ideas
so many years later i see how this early music utterly informs who i am as a maker and human being
bit of led zeppelin thrown in there on an aged wobbly cassette tape really completes some idea of a story
i see myself there lain bare

Geiger Counter is out now via One Little Indian Records. Give the record a spin — and listen to our full Algorhythms playlist here.

Seeking music that can utterly inform who you are as a human being? We can help with that. Grey Matter is a community platform with new ways to discover music and support creators. Learn more and join the community here.