Gotye - Making Mirrors // By Lindsay Colip

Story by

Gotye, AKA Wally De Backer, is a musical genius you need to know. And now, he’s finally leaving Australia and coming to the states in October, playing one show in Los Angeles and one in Brooklyn and then leaving again for who knows how long. I suggest you buy tickets to this show immediately. It WILL sell out.

Here’s why:

Gotye’s music is unlike anyone else. Strike that, his voice sounds a little like Phil Collins, but I have no problem with that. Nor should you. He creates his songs reactively, by searching for “any sound that elicits an immediate response.” These sounds are usually found on old vinyl (he told me he’s an avid collector) and once he hears a hook or horn break or riff that inspires something in him, it becomes his starting point. From there he mixes a gajillion different instruments on top of one another, in a very experimental, trial and error sort of way, until he gets his song. The ultimate cut and paste artist. He sometimes invites his musician friends to join in, adding bass lines or steel guitar, but mainly creates these masterpieces solo. He’s been drumming for 15 yrs as well and what you hear on the current album is his live playing. Because of this method of sampling and layering and mixing, the songs are familiar and yet completely unique.  Weathered but contemporary.


Making Mirrors was born in a barn on his parents property on stunning Mornington Peninsula (specifically Victoria, Australia). Using a wide range of acoustic instruments, samples from antique vinyl and a macbook pro, he recorded one of the most enticing, complex and addicting albums of the year.  I took it as the ultimate break up album, but that could be only because i survived a painful one and that’s how I chose to hear it. Perhaps not so much a break up per se, but the cycle of a relationship and all of the emotions engulfing it. I completely understand that how one perceives any piece of music is subjective and i could be way off, but something tells me that he’s been scarred and sewn all in the same breath.

I have to start by saying ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ is one of the best songs i’ve ever heard and Witness This featured the video for this track a while back.  It’s amazingly haunting and piercing while being gentle and steady at the same time. The harmonies with ‘Kimbra’ are chill worthy and the beginning ditty will be stuck in your head for days. Lyrically, brilliant. Not since Kings of Convenience’s ‘golden cage’ have i so resonated with a song’s dialogue. His  lyrics “I told myself that you were right for me, but felt so lonely in your company” and her “now and then i think of all the times you screwed me over” epitomize the duality of lover’s hindsight. I have played this song for many people in various walks of life and every one of them is obsessed. Bravo.


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Surrounding that gem are other scintillating tunes, including the uplifting motown inspired ‘I Feel Better’, the bumblegum pop ‘In Your Light’, the creepy as shit ‘Don’t Worry We’ll Be Watching You’ and the beautifully sobering ‘Bronte.’ I especially love tribal flavored ‘Save Me’ which brings a whiff of hope into the room and ‘Smoke and Mirrors,’ which is both super smooth and eerie. You just want him to scream “you’re a fraud and you know it!” but instead the words tip toe off his tongue with delicacy. Overall, this album is so fantastically mosaic that i feel like everyone should find something they like on it.

Witness-This encompasses various platforms of expression, not just music, so it’s only fitting to highlight another cool bit about this guy. De Backer comes from a very art oriented, creative family and loved to paint growing up. His mom kept all of his old art in a folder and after going through it again as an adult, he found great inspiration. When you buy his albums, take a look at the covers. They’re all his old paintings from childhood. This most recent album is actually a painting by his father that he recently unearthed. As he said in his documentary on making this album, he chose this painting because of the ‘beautiful balance of emotion and mathematics’ and because it ‘just seemed to match the diversity in the music’. Well put. This album is as diverse as a Benetton ad.

Gotye comes to The Satellite in LA on October 18th. Be there.

If you want earlier Gotye, check out his video for ‘Heart’s a Mess’ from his previous album, Like Drawing Blood.

by Lindsay Colip.

//Lindsay has written for various music sites, including SPINearth and Jambase, traveled the world covering music festivals, was a SPINearth video correspondent for ‘i am with the fans’ music tour and alongside photographer steven ‘walt’ walter, produced, directed and edited ‘live and local’ acoustic performances for SPINearth.


Previous PostNext Post