The Float marks the first release in 11 years from former Spinanes singer Rebecca Gates, who enlisted a host of musical friends (17 by our count, collectively addressed as The Consortium) while working on the record on and off over the past few years. In this session, she joins us with the slimmed-down version that's been joining her in Portland over the past year or so: Joanna Bolme on bass, Rebecca Cole on keys and Ji Tanzer on drums.
As the vocalist and driving creative force behind The Spinanes, Gates released three albums on Sub Pop in the 1990s — the first two (1993's Manos and 1996's Strand) with drummer Scott Plouff before she completed the 1998 swan song Arches & Aisles essentially as a solo act. The band was a college-radio darling, and Manos became the first record on Sub Pop to hit No. 1 on CMJ's college chart.
In 2001, Gates shed the Spinanes moniker and returned with Ruby Series, a slimmed-down collection of smooth pop that explored new textures with the help of Tortoise's John McEntire. From that point, however, Gates shifted her focus, turning more to visual art and design. Over the past decade, she's spent much of her time curating exhibitions and giving lectures, while also involving herself in artist-advocacy groups like the Future of Music Coalition and the Agency League of Musicians. She didn't abandon music entirely, either, creating soundtrack scores for documentary films and lending guest spots to recordings here and there.
Watch Gates perform "&&&" here, and check out more excerpts from her studio session over at opbmusic.org.