Tag: Tess Roby

New Video: Montreal’s Tess Roby Shares an Intimate Visual for Dreamy and Meditative “Up 2 Me”

This week will be very busy: I’ll be attending and covering this year’s New Colossus Festival. So while they’ll be posts, I probably won’t be posting with the same regularity this week — but it’ll be worth it. But in the meantime, let’s get back to business around here:

Montreal-based singer/songwriter and producer Tess Roby is a classically trained vocalist and self-taught synth player, who has developed and honed an exploratory sound and approach that blur the lines between pop, ambient electronica and alternative folk with an emphasis on voice as an instrument. 

Roby’s sophomore album Ideas of Space is slated for an April 22, 2022 release through the Montreal-based artist’s own label SSURROUNDSS. The album reportedly sees Roby moving towards full artistic independence with the Montreal-based artist acting as songwriter, producer, musician, video director and art director. 

Ideas of Space features guest spots from BRAIDS‘ Austin Tufts, Joseph Shabason and Ouri, who contribute drums, woodwinds and cello respectively, adding intricate textures to material centered around fuller-bodied production and expansive song structures. The album’s songs shift effortlessly from jubilant highs to contemplative lows, evoking the concepts of duality, which run throughout the album’s material. 

Last month, I wrote about the mesmerizing album title track, the Kate Bush and Flourish//Perish era BRAIDS-like “Ideas of Space,” which featured glistening and looping synth arpeggios, dramatic drumming and Roby’s achingly plaintive vocals. “‘Ideas of Space’ signals the beginning of a new chapter. This song is hypnotic and sinuous, and sonically possesses a certain power and urgency,” Roby says in press notes. “When I listen to it I imagine vast landscapes, a climb, a journey. Two distinct voices speak to each other; one lost, questioning, and the other guiding the way. I wanted to visually represent those voices and the journey I was on while making this album; one of self-discovery, hardship, adventure and in the end, confidence and strength.” 

Ideas of Space‘s second and latest single “Up 2 Me” continues a run of mesmerizing and dreamy material, centered around glistening synth arpeggios, propulsive and skittering beats programmed by BRAIDS’ Austin Tufts paired with Roby’s plaintive vocals.

The accompanying visual for “Up 2 Me” was shot on grainy VHS and is an interview look into Roby’s creative process (to some degree) as we see a black-clad Roby in the studio playing the song, thinking and dancing along to music, as well as the Canadian artist in a snow covered field gently swaying.

“The making of this song was very meditative. It was the first song I wrote following a situation that had taken a toll on my mental health, and had kept me out of the studio for a long time,” Roby explains in press notes. “The first iteration came in the summer of 2020, and it rested as an instrumental demo for a while. When I was close to finishing the album, I searched through all my recordings to find a final track – this one stood out to me. I wrote the vocal melody and arranged the song, then brought the instrumental to Austin Tufts along with a beat and asked him to program and expand on the idea. At this point we had been working together for a while and he was totally immersed in my sonic universe and knew the mood I was after. When I first heard the track with the drums, it was early Spring in April 2021. Montreal had this ridiculous 8pm curfew– it was 7:30pm or so and I left my apartment so I could listen outside. The sun was setting, the streets were empty, and I listened to the track on repeat until I had to run home.” 

New Video: Montreal’s Tess Roby Shares a Symbolic Visual for CInematic “Ideas of Space”

Montreal-based singer/songwriter and producer Tess Roby is a classically trained vocalist and self-taught synth player, who has developed and honed an exploratory sound and approach that blur the lines between pop, ambient electronica and alternative folk with an emphasis on voice as an instrument.

Roby’s sophomore album Ideas of Space is slated for an April 22, 2022 release through the Montreal-based artist’s own label SSURROUNDSS. The album reportedly sees Roby moving towards full artistic independence with the Montreal-based artist acting as songwriter, producer, musician, video director and art director.

Ideas of Space features guest spots from BRAIDS‘ Austin Tufts, Joseph Shabason and Ouri, who contribute drums, woodwinds and cello to add intricate textures to material centered around fuller-bodied production and expansive song structures. The album’s songs shift effortlessly from jubilant highs to contemplative lows, evoking the concepts of duality, which run throughout the album’s material.

The album’s first single, album title track, the mesmerizing “Ideas of Space” is centered around glistening and looping synth arpeggios, dramatic drumming paired with Roby’s achingly plaintive vocals. Sonically, “Ideas of Space” manages to recall to Kate Bush and Flourish//Perish era BRAIDS. “‘Ideas of Space’ signals the beginning of a new chapter. This song is hypnotic and sinuous, and sonically possesses a certain power and urgency,” Roby says in press notes. “When I listen to it I imagine vast landscapes, a climb, a journey. Two distinct voices speak to each other; one lost, questioning, and the other guiding the way. I wanted to visually represent those voices and the journey I was on while making this album; one of self-discovery, hardship, adventure and in the end, confidence and strength.” 

Directed by Roby, the fittingly cinematic visual that features Roby lost and wandering the forest near the Quebec coast in a white frock. Her journey is arduous and in the video’s narrative, seems to take days — with a night sleeping in the elements. Eventually she comes to a clearing. And in the clearing, she comes across a Stonehedge-like structure where she encounters herself — and is greeted with a warm and loving hug.

“The video was made with a small and incredible team composed of DOPs and editors Patrick Boivin and George Allister (VideoCompany), and producer Sarah Mackenzie,” says Tess Roby. “It was an ambitious undertaking and I’m very proud of what we have made together.”