George Riley - interest rates, a tape
Label: Independent Released: July 2021
George Riley didn’t grow up around instruments or within a family of talented musicians. As a child, the West London native focused on academics leading her to study law. Her music however, is free of restrictions and is created within an emotional place. She uses songwriting as her platform to express her inner thoughts on relationships and the world we live in.
Riley entered the music scene with her 2019 single 'Herstory'. The track is dedicated to those at the crosshairs of racial injustice and sexism.
“My words are empty if you ain’t open”
Her debut album, ‘interest rates, a tape’, finds her having progressed even deeper within her craft. Musically, the project blends the experimental with the pace and rhythms of House and weightlessness of Free Jazz. Her deliberate directness makes the messages crystal clear, empowering some and challenging others to do better.
A standout track for me was ‘say yes’ a collaboration with London’s Joe Armon-Jones. This slow-paced track compliments Riley, as she urges her listeners to take control of their power. As the waterfalls of percussion and keys swing, so Riley moves between melody and spoken word.
"You just have to follow all your feelings,
not be afraid to feel things,
you don’t necessarily need meaning"
Following track 'poomplexed', features an upbeat DIY House percussion arrangement and layered rhythmic loops of harmony. it evolves into a work of pure Acid House, only to return to a diversity of sounds that give Riley the freedom to be daring and show a different side of herself. Despite the range of tempos Riley always dictates the terms and shows complete control.
On the devastatingly short 'hi, how are you?(..)' She shows spectacular poise as she considers rekindling an old love.
“I’ve been trying my best not to think about you”
Riley finds a way to make the listeners feel the weight of the situation by drawing out agonising notes that draw gut wrenching desire. She trusts us to be with her as she contemplates love and loss, leaving us at an emotional standstill.
Towards the project’s close, Riley delivers a rush of energy on 'money', a catchy track dedicated to the all mighty dollar. Its youthful exuberance showcases Riley can sway a crowd as much as she can captivate their hearts. Overall, 'interest rates, a tape' strikes a warm balance between meticulously crafted and playfully experimental. The album’s free-flowing nature feels like a rough sketch that ends up being a detailed portrait.