In a world where it seems everything has been done, it’s refreshing to see an artist reinvent the simply reliable into something truly innovative. Consider classical composition: in theory, this is something relegated to the “old world”, archaic and unfit for the millennial Twittersphere. But does it have to be?
Enter GABI. The latest project of Brooklyn-based musician Gabrielle Herbst, this group forces us to rethink what classical composition even means. We refer to Herbst vaguely as “musician” because she is just that—her training and abilities are all over the map. She studied voice and composition at Bard College, though she embarked on her musical ambitions at a young age, first picking up piano and clarinet as a child. And though she is classically trained, today she says she inhabits “multiple worlds.”
By this, she means that she feels no need to pigeonhole herself. Her classical roots haven’t diminished — she wrote an opera last year. But she cross-pollinates this genre with modern electronic music in a way that’s fresh and accessible. Her soaring vocals blend seamlessly with layered arrangements that manage to paradoxically be both sparse and complex at the same time. She joined forces with band-mates Matthew O’Koren (percussion), Rick Quantz (viola), Josh Henderson (violin) and Aaron Roche (electric guitar and trombone) to record GABI’s first full length record, Sympathy, this past winter. It will be released April 7.
All in all, GABI truly embodies what it means to be an artist. Herbst’s beautifully ambient compositions emit an air of originality unmatched in current music. And it seems others are picking up on it too—what with rave reviews of the group’s SXSW performance (we believe The New Yorker used the words “enveloping, enthralling, beautiful”). GABI is on the cusp of something remarkable, so check out the video for “Koo Koo” and snag some tickets to the April 22 show at (le) Poisson Rouge.