Kate Bollinger’s New EP ‘Look at it in the Light’ is an Experimental Masterpiece
Straight out of Richmond, VA, up-and-coming artist Kate Bollinger has just released her new EP Look at it in the Light, courtesy of Ghostly International, making it her third EP release in three years. The previous two, I Don’t Wanna Lose (2019) and A word becomes a sound (2020), were independently recorded and released with her longtime collaborator John Tranium and a close group of friends from her community with various musical backgrounds.
The former releases earned Bollinger significant opening slots, supporting popular artists with the likes of Real Estate, Faye Webster and L’Imperatrice, among others. She also gained further recognition with Kanye West’s 2021 single “Donda,” which samples Bollinger’s 2019 track “Candy,” and acknowledges her with an unexpected writing credit.
With no other choice but to complete her previous EP in quarantine, Bollinger, Tranium and the “players” — referring to her friends — were anxious to head back to the studio in the spring of 2021 with a brand-new catalogue of tracks.
“We wanted to make limiting decisions and to stick with them, rather than leave things open,” Bollinger recalls. “And we wanted to hear certain flaws and parts of the process.”
The EP centers on the orientation and clarity of each track, which evokes Bollinger’s unwavering opposition to change, and draws much of its inspiration from music during the ‘60s and ‘70s — namely, old Beatles demos.
“I like being able to hear the bass, the guitar, the drums, the keys and for each instrument to be playing a singular part that is good enough to stand alone” she says.
As for Bollinger’s writing process, much of it is left to the imagination — literally. She likens her process to that of dreaming, letting her subconscious take the lead in an open-ended cycle. This is where her development of syllables and chord progressions surface in the form of what she describes as shapes in the mind’s sky. What we’re left with is a collection of alluring and rhythmic melodies that reveal her lifelong pursuit of establishing her place in the world. Utilizing her ability to recognize the little things, and their equivalents, along the way. Look at it in the Light replaces the mundane with luminosity, and the trivial, daily itinerary with a quaint and thematic portrayal of self-examination. In a way, the record is a characterization to certain aspects of Bollinger’s life that she feels need to be addressed.
She acknowledges change in the title track, however, as she poignantly recites,
“I know the way things change / So I try not to notice / I deny my fate,”
and again on “Who Am I But Someone,” a melodic, uplifting track replete with complementing guitars, bass and keyboards, which she says shuffles through
“the measures to which I will go in order to avoid having to uproot familiar things in my life.”
Look at it in the Light, then, is exactly that — a descriptive adaptation of her imaginative state, which explores pain and pleasure, darkness and light, reality and escape. Each thematic element is carefully intertwined, resulting in an elaborate, musical portrait.