Review: Katie Dey’s Online Art-Pop Evolution In ‘mydata’

Katie Dey | mydata | Run For Cover Records

Release Date: 24 July, 2020

Within each of her releases, Katie Dey’s now signature honeyed dream-pop lovingly cradles a strikingly authentic expression of the artist’s personality; a tender exploration of her inner thoughts sculpted into dreamlike, introspective tracks teeming with an authenticity that is instantly relatable.

The Australian producer has allowed us a deeply personal insight with her body of work since her debut in 2015, with the artist expressing a willingness to let listeners in as she reflects upon her inner thoughts and struggles through her uniquely ethereal and often delicately melancholic art-pop; specifically when it comes to a theme that runs prominently throughout her music – our connections with other people and the ways in which these relationships shape our own personal growth and evolution.

As I get older and my ideas of how I want to present myself morph and evolve, I want more clarity in myself. I want to be heard and understood, and I want to convey a self that isn’t misinterpreted as much.

Her previous and third LP ‘solipsisters’ which was written in isolation and reflected Dey’s inner dialogue at the time, focused on her personal perception of alienation and relationships. With the release of her fourth studio album ‘mydata’ via Run For Cover Records, we follow Dey’s focus on relationships during one of the most significant, and almost unbelievable events in human history; finding ourselves turning to the online world perhaps more so now than ever before, in an attempt to truly connect with those we care for in a manner that is as tangible as possible – as for many of us, we too, feel more isolated than ever before.

(…mydata) is pretty explicitly about an internet relationship, which can be precisely as meaningful as a relationship that’s physical, because a long distance relationship is obviously physical too, in a sense. It’s physically felt in the body.

The album opener ‘darkness’ sets the tone for ‘mydata’ as a euphoric art-pop ballad; the saccharine nature of the electronic textures within the track – such as the cutesy, candied synthesizer melody peeking through every now and again – it’s joyful, confident beat and playful elements of percussion glimmer vividly in contrast with Dey’s lyrics like in many of her works. While the track exhibits Dey’s signature lo-fi bliss, her silken vocals flow gently with the beat that while sweet and danceable, swirl in tandem with elements reminiscent of slightly more dramatic orchestral timbres.

The balance between Dey’s electro-soundscape and her bittersweet, melancholic lyrics is affectionately composed, with the release of an official music video accompanying the track the perfect companion with Dey singing to us through her webcam – presumably at home – shimmering with digital psychedelic patterns as her lyrics play out subtly on screen.

if i could be a nest for all your

suicidal ideation i

f i could just reflect all of your

self destruction and complacence

i wanna be a black hole i can

pull apart electrons oh if

i could be a lightbulb i’d

explode the moment you install it

(photosensitivity warning: this video contains some brief mild flashes of light, but no strobing or high contrast flashing)

One of the most noticeable elements of ‘mydata’ is how much Katie Dey’s sound has truly evolved: while she retains her dream-pop signature style – there is a sense of experimentation that really stands out, even in comparison to ‘solopsisters’ which wasn’t released all that long ago. The producer openly plays with more dramatic and experimental timbres and darker tones, with tracks such as ‘word’ and ‘hopeless’ glowing as focused, superbly melodramatic soundscapes and tracks like ‘loving’ containing no vocals at all, as an expertly crafted instrumental composition.

mydata’ is an authentically impressive release that really showcases a sense of growth, as it manages to shift our perception of Dey further away from the label of bedroom-producer, more so into the realm of a beautifully polished and experimental art-pop songstress.

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Rating: 8.5 / 10