Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Wednesday, May 22, 2024

PREMIERE | Female Gaze, 'Tender Futures'

Art and existence in our current era (and arguably other time periods) is not an inherently linear ordeal. While cycles and patterns can be observed in terms of how trends ebb and flow, earth science sequences analyzed, societal and civic fashions and fads parade in and out of style and so forth; nothing abides by a static algorithm. Our experiences are erratic, the best laid itineraries and plans are often met with diversions and interruptions that whisk us away from our otherwise regularly scheduled programming. We are beholden to the timelines that are outside of our own unique operations, and while we may be experiencing the slow steps of time in our own lives there are often cyclones of social circuses that buzz around our hives in a maelstrom of movements that are too innumerable to count. We witness these motions according to our time, the lulls of night and the lights of day as our consciousness absorbs the information and stimuli that arrives at our senses (while the unconscious grapples with the overwhelming deluge of external activities that exceeds the limits of our comprehension).

These non-linear sequences abound on the new record Tender Futures from Tucson, AZ trio Female Gaze. Bandleader Nelene DeGuzman, Kevin Conklin and Nicky David Cobham-Morgese create a 5 song cycle designed to be experienced like a Möbius film loop. The band prefaces it with the following:

…[Tender Futures] is a cycle meant to be listened to on a loop, starting anywhere but listening in order until you reach your starting point again…

A record that rose out of DeGuzman’s own health struggles where days and nights blended together into the arbitrary atmospheres of ambiguity, Tender Futures offers tangible textures that enrobe the constructs of time and spaces as we embark upon them. Female Gaze gives room for how we perceive our lives, minute by minute, moment to moment. Honoring these aspects of reality, DeGuzman surveys where we are, how we feel and how we are engaging in that very instance. Tender Gaze invites you to experience time not as a simplified flat line but as a circle, where the the rises and falls of solar and lunar intervals are heard and felt according to a planetary alignment that is outside of our own immediate purview.

Chronologically "Ghosts" begins the album with a journey through the paranormal where Nelene's voice echoes through chambers and is met by the found sounds of daylight where the ambience of wind and the chirps and cheeps of birdsongs fills the air. The voyage to the edges of night and the dams of daybreak collapses the conventions of calendars on "Broadcast" that transmits like a psychotropic journey to the places where time takes on new forms and new meanings. The title track runs shy of 10 minutes, an instrumental where the conventions of clocks, hours, minutes and seconds dissolves into a heady jam that entrances all who are brave enough to take the trip. "In the Mezzanine" employs lo-fi piano keys and field recorded sounds of evening where crickets and the rushing whooshes of traffic swim about the mix (replete with percussive car turn signal clicks and clacks).

Tender Futures is completed with "Severance" that transcends the pains of mortality. Transcends the trappings of 24 hour systems and cycles of bookkeeping. Transcends the movement of the planets. Transcends the trivialities of everything that we place meaning upon that are but chaff in the breeze as the wind adheres to its own wild code and convection trajectory that carries a compass of its own design and choosing. Nelene takes the listener on an out of body experience where everything and nothingness, day and night and other corresponding opposites find a cosmic and complimentary coupling like compatible constellations cruising up together in concert high above the sky.

Nelene DeGuzman of Female Gaze shared the following meditations on the new album:

Tender Futures is an experimental concept album that tracks an endless day/night cycle. I’ve struggled most of my adult life with pain stemming from chronic health issues.

Tender Futures was created while suffering through a particularly difficult health year, waiting 5 months in a painful limbo for a much needed surgery. Time seemed to slow to an intolerable pace but I also felt like everything was moving fast around me and I was unable to keep up.

My perception during this time became a fever dream of cycles, inhale/exhale, night/day, always a bit disoriented, like waking up from a nap that’s gone too long and now it’s dark and you’re not sure if it’s late at night or early in the morning.

Female Gaze’s Tender Futures arrives May 17 on vinyl via Fort Lowell Records and cassette courtesy of Totally Real Records.