Written by Randy Radic
GEA recently dropped her full-length album, Butterflies. Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, GEA is the musical project of singer-songwriter Laura Avonius, who says, “Butterflies is a personal journey of moving from being broken towards growing to become who I am.”
Stylistically, GEA blends traditional Finnish folk music with ambient electronic music, reflecting the contrast of light and dark found in the Nordic region. The resulting sound is full of coruscating sonic panoramas, both mysterious and mystical.
Butterflies contains ten tracks. “Followers” presents a twinkling synth over a pulsing groove, along with delicate strings vibrating with deep sonority. GEA’s ethereal, fairy-like vocals glide diaphanously over the melody. “Pink” begins with piano and strings, delivering an elegant, fragile melody. The melody floats light and airy as GEA’s angelic voice trembles with rich sweetness. An organ-like synth adds depth and layering beneath the mellow piano.
“Friendship Hoax” emanates a bright, sparkling piano that’s almost tinny, along with light strings and a staccato beat. The tune shimmers with fragility, as does GEA’s waiflike voice. “Alone” starts off with a bluesy piano and trickling sound effects. GEA’s voice ranges from deep and sultry to unearthly levitation. A reedy synth riding over the piano provides contrasting texture, allowing for variation of color. It’s a beautiful tune.
“Little Detail” strikes a discordant note because of too many high tones, giving the tune a dense layering of peeping resonance. “Wind” begins with a delicate piano and GEA’s airy voice. The melody takes on a somber tone as GEA’s voice descends and then becomes breathy. The tune resembles a dark nursery rhyme. “Steps Out Of Sight” begins with chimes and a piano, along with an emergent synth followed by light strings. The tune carries a remote classical resemblance, minimal and brightly austere.
“Real You And Me” exudes a Finnish folk flavor initially, then segues to a new wave pop essence luminous with pigmented rhythmic elements. The vocals donate a singsong tang that’s a bit cloying. “Enemies” offers a slow, melodic piano intro, followed by GEA’s ethereal voice, resonant with melancholy and a devout texture. The title track begins with a luminous piano and GEA’s high-pitched, flute-like voice. The tune is supremely minimalistic and perhaps a bit jarring because of the juddering quality of the vocal timbre.
Butterflies has much to offer, with the first half of the album being superior to the second half. GEA’s voice works best when the melodies are stronger and more fluid, i.e. when the electronic flow of the music adds depth, texture and color, thus allowing her ethereal voice to stand out against the cascading harmonics of the instruments. If you’re into ethereal, spectral music, then you should definitely check out Butterflies.
Read the full review here.