When all of Halifax, UK-based JOVM mainstays The Orielles‘ live dates to promote 2019’s Disco Volador were scrapped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trio — siblings Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums) and Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (vocals, bass) and their best friend Henry Carlyle (guitar, vocals) —spent 2020 working on La Vita Olistica, a high-concept art film written and directed by the Hand-Halford sisters, which they toured in cinemas during the following year. The film was the beginning of a series of creative breakthroughs that led to the band’s fourth album, last year’s Tableau.
The band was booked to host a monthly show on Soho Radio. The broadcasts quickly became impromptu research and development sessions for the ideas that would form the album. “Doing that monthly meant we had a reason to meet up and bring two hours of music between us which we’d play, discuss, hold physically and share,” the band’s Henry Carlyle says in press notes. “We were listening to much more contemporary music than before,” Esmé Dee Hand-Halford adds. That was one breakthrough for the band.
The band was recruited to remix another band’s track in a Goyt, UK-based studio. While working on that remix, they would wind up creating what the band dubbed the Goyt method, a central part of the album’s creative process. “To Goyt it” Sidonie B. Hand-Halford explains, “that’s getting all these pieces and rearranging them. We had vocal melodies and ideas that we’d then run through and sample, and play them on sample pads. We were being editors, really.”
The trio also completely revamped their long-held creative process: Where they had previously only gone into the studio once songs had been tightly crafted and perfected at the demo stage, they began to develop new practice and techniques in line with the contemporary sound they were aspiring to create. They relied less on demos and more on improvisation. They employed experimental 1960s-era tape looping and Autotunes. The material sees them drawing from the likes of Burial and Sonic Youth. And for the first time, no outside producer — but the band collaborated with friend and producer Joel Anthony Patchett.
Mostly recorded during the summer of 2021, while the band was holed away in Eastbourne, UK, the album not only sees the band quickly adopting contemporary production, but concepts from the art world and minimalism, as well. Sidonie B. Hand-Halford researched the graphic scoring method of Pulitzer Prize-nominated trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith. They also used Oblique Strategies, the playing cards designed to aide creativity created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in the early 1970s. “We’d been speaking about wanting to use them for ages, and then we found a set of cards at the studio in Eastbourne,” explains Sidonie, “before each song, we’d pick out a card and that would be our motif for playing that take.”
Released last year as a double album meant to reward serious immersion, the material is simultaneously complex and diverse. And while the album boldly challenges preconceptions, this is something that the band suggests they’ve had to do throughout their career anyway. “All through our whole career we’ve had to prove ourselves so, so much” Carlyle says. “You can’t disconnect the age and the gender thing either” Esmé Dee Hand-Halford says. “People belittle your age because they see women in the band. Whereas lad bands, if they’re eighteen it’s apparently exactly what people want to see.” Being from a small town in West Yorkshire may have added to that also, but Sidonie counters that “being from Halifax has also been a blessing, it’s kept our egos in check.”
Of course along with that, the album is also the product the product of the unique telepathy between three singular musicians that have grown in symbiosis for over a decade — and the three of them vibing and trading ideas together in a room. “As creators, for the fact we’ve produced it ourselves, it feels like a starting point” Esmé Dee Hand-Halford suggests, “even though everything that’s going previously has counted, this now feels like Ground Zero.” For the future, now, it’s all gates open.
Slated for a May 26, 2023 release through Heavenly Recordings, the five-track The Goyt Method EP features brand new songs constructed from randomly chosen parts of tracks from last year’s Tableau. “Our concept for The Goyt Method was birthed from our interest in cybernetics, improvisation and experimental electronic music,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “We wanted to zoom out of Tableau and disconnect all the pieces, rearranging them in new ways to create variations of songs, which encapsulate the whole record. We left this part of the process completely down to chance, adopting an online roulette wheel to choose our stems. This way of creating music was familiar to us from spending a lot of time remixing and record collecting, gaining an invested interest in deep listening and avant-garde electronic music.
The name itself comes from the initial location in which we remixed with Joel Patchett, a wintery and freezing cold Goyt Mill. From here, we coined the term ‘Goytism’ or ‘to Goyt’ which was basically our way of describing the process of repurposing and resampling acoustic sounds through digital production, making them unrecognizable from their original source.The photograph on the sleeve was taken in winter 2020, our first visit to the Mill studio, our first Goyt session.”
The Goyt Method EP‘s glitchy first single “Tableau 002” is a forward-thinking and mind-bending reconstruction of Tableau‘s material and of their sound. Built around skittering trap beats, broodingly cinematic strings, reverb-drenched, chopped up vocal samples, twinkling synth arpeggios, “Tableau 002” sounds like a eerie yet slick synthesis of drum ‘n’ bass, techno house, alt pop and hyper pop.
Directed by Beck Cooley, the accompanying video for “Tableau 002” was shot in noisy and glitchy black and white and is creepy and unsettling. “We met up with Beck Cooley to discuss a collaboration in making a video for a Goyt Method track and instantly hit it off with our adoration for janky electronic IDM and experimental sci-fi and body horror film,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “We’d all recently watched Tetsuo: Iron Man and suggested Beck watch it and it was here that the video concept was born. We loved the stop motion and the lo-fi noisy aesthetic of the film, the man meets machine ideology particularly appealed. The way in which we remixed tracks from Tableau for this EP was very much inspired by a collaboration with AI and letting online randomisation choose the stems for us to pull into the track. We felt this was pretty apt and decided to pay homage to Tetsuo in a ‘man meets machine’ collision of metal and computers.