TRACK PREMIERE: GEMMA CASTRO “FREE”
If Gemma Castro‘s new song “Free” had a video, it’d be a fragment from an oversaturated Kenneth Anger clip that catches fire in the middle—the kind of thing where image turns into light and then smoke. (See here for vivid demonstration of an arguably Anger-ian aesthetic.) But as a song, that smoke and light is all still there, along with that Cat Power / Mazzy Star / Sibylle Baier sense of isolation and desperation that pulls you closer even as it sounds like it’s coming from farther and farther away.
That’s exactly how this songs develops, retreating into waves of harmony and then a blue-note trumpet solo by Taylor Spiliotis that helps the last lights in the house flicker out. “Free” is like a lost sweet-soul ballad with the backing band washed away, or the bedroom demo of some brokenhearted last-call night club torch song. Just calling it sad doesn’t measure all the dimensions. It’s a long walk toward a light on the horizon—emotion in slow motion. Says Castro:
“Throughout my life, I have struggled with this feeling of inevitable doom. Whenever I get in a really positive relationship or in a good time, I always feel that no matter what I do, it’s not going to last—that there is no way I can hold on to it. I believe a big part of that feeling is a result of growing up with undocumented parents—always afraid that the people closest to you are going to be taken away. Always knowing that in the back of your mind. This song is a mantra to heal that trauma of growing up in fear, and to know love.
I wrote this song in a time of heartbreak from separating with my best friend. I was going through big changes and experiencing isolation. Writing this song helped me have my own back through all the uncertainty. And now releasing it is an echo of that intention.”
“Free” is out now and you can get it from Castro here. There’s no immediate plans for a new album, but Castro says she has an “amazing music video coming soon for a song that’s in Spanish.” Striking photo by longtime Castro compatriot Oscar Flores as well!