- David Bentley
Gurli Octavia – X-Ray (edited single from forthcoming album)
There is no better example of why I love doing this than finding ‘new’ talent like Gurli Octavia. She’s been around for a while – she has three EPs out already, accumulating 1.5 million hits – but she’s coming to our attention courtesy of signing to a new label, eighteighteightyeight records, which appears to be based in or around Denmark’s music capital of Aarhus, and, more significantly, by being represented now in the UK and U.S. by the highly respected Integrity Records.
She’s done a lot of touring around the Nordic countries, including festival appearances at big ones like SPOT and Roskilde and the press release says she’s hoping 2021 will be the year in which “the wider world finally hears her name.”
Well with songs like this it surely will. Billed as ‘sultry confessional pop’ she cogitates on not having been the 'significant other' she wanted to be (which could refer to a relationship with a partner or to a child) in a year in which she finally strayed from the “very self-destructive path” she was on. Ergo, the songs on the album were written with “a heavy emotional burden.”
The first 20 seconds of ‘X-Ray’, to funereal piano chords, hint at three and a half minutes of minor key misery as she contemplates the party being over, but then that conversion on the road to Damascus suddenly kicks in and there’s no looking back. As the tempo builds there is delightful interplay between piano, bass and especially drums (an inventive beat from Mathias Hedegaard Nielsen) then, when you aren’t expecting it a Spaghetti Western style trumpet comes in out of nowhere, courtesy of Julie Norup Baggesen.
Vocally, she reminds me very much of Norway’s Sol Heilo; she has the same slightly breathless, smoky voice and delivery. And Heilo is a top-class trumpeter, too.
An excellent song all round and one which marks out Gurli’s debut album, 'I Could Be Blossoming Instead' which drops on 29th January, as one to look out for.
Also have a watch of this SPOT video which features a full band live performance, with both old and new material.
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