Prodigious lo-fi artist Mike Gale has knocked out his ninth release, Twin Spirit. This one marks a different approach to earlier work, however, as this is built upon samples that act as thematic bases to draw melodies over, progressively adding layers to make weird and wonderful sound design. There’s a free-spirited vibe on this release, and Gale’s excellent vocal contributions can be found on every track in some form.
“Twin Spirit is my 9th solo release. I wanted to find a new way of writing that excited me again so decided to work with just samples. I played bass on one song but apart from that everything else is a sample I found and manipulated to fit the songs. I found that this offered me a huge amount of freedom to do different styles and sing in different ways. I wasn’t bound by my limitations as a fairly poor musician. It was such a liberating experience for me.”
Influences are hard to pin down, but Gale sports something akin to a more eccentric version of Guided by Voices. There’s lo-fi master Daniel Johnston to be found on here, albeit in a modified form with some garage-y twist (‘Don’t Mind the Weather’), then you have mind-melting benders like ‘Betterriver’, and a lead single similar to a sweeter, even quirkier David Byrne on ‘Awake Awake’.
All in all, it’s not easy to say for certain who Mike Gale is except that he loves to tinker and toy with sound and create a fun vibe that’s always at least somewhat rooted in pop. There’s even some emulation of video game theme songs on here to add to the goofy yet loveable atmosphere; it’s like entering a world of idiosyncratic wonders and joys, built over a lifetime, that Gale wants to share with you.
Wrapping up the release neatly is an ambient closer, which softly gathers the cluster of sounds and atmospheres you’ve heard before and coherently pieces it all together. Equal parts charming and entertaining, Twin Spirit is a presentation of Gale’s unique mind and its abilities as a wonderfully adept melody-making machine.