Opal Tapes’ serenely cosmic architect Karen Gwyer steps behind the machines at the studio of Athina 9,84 in Athens.
Karen Gwyer is a Ann Arbor-born London resident with a selection of divinely interstellar releases on Opal Tapes, No Pain In Pop, and Nous, amongst others. Gwyer’s calm mastery of synths and drum machines is somewhere between the pastoral cosmic krautrock of Cluster and Popol Vuh and the raw terrorism of Cabaret Voltaire, as well as nodding mindfully to pillars of house and techno history such as Lil’ Louis and Derrick May. Her debut LP Needs Continuum on No Pain In Pop demonstrated an intuitive grasp of otherworldly arrangements and deep rolling grooves, that saw fans drawing comparisons with Stellar Om Source, Motion Sickness Of Time Travel, Julia Holter and Tim Hecker, among others. Gwyer has also teamed up with New York’s video mulcher and romantic groove deconstructor Torn Hawk for her Cowboys (For Karen) EP, stretching technoid dance forms into strange new shapes, while her New Roof EP finds her honing her sound and stretching her mind even further on tracks like “Missisissipippi,” gradually perfecting her own solar system road-trip soundtrack.