Rebecca Gates & The Consortium

Rebecca Gates and the Consortium
The Float
May 29, 2012 on vinyl

Rebecca Gates was leader of The Spinanes, a critically acclaimed band that released three albums on Sub Pop Records (1993-1998). Their 1993 album “Manos” was the first Sub Pop album to hit number one on the CMJ charts. Since her 2001 release Ruby Series, co-produced by Gates and John McEntire, she has appeared solo and under the Rebecca Gates + the Consortium moniker.

In 2001, Rebecca Gates returned home to Chicago after a successful tour opening for Stereolab, and decided it was time to do something else.

“On that tour, with that band, Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco), Noel Kupersmith (Brokeback) and Jerry Busher (Fugazi), I’d played some of my most musically satisfying shows, which, given the roster of The Spinanes over the years, is saying a lot. We’d enjoyed being with Stereolab, who were good friends, and the dates had gone well. But I ended up exhausted, lost money doing the tour and I just thought this is unsustainable, there’s other things I want to do.”

Already involved with the Chicago contemporary visual and sound art scene Gates began investigating various modes of thinking about sound and design.

Activities of note 2001-2012:

The Marfa Sessions, Ballroom Marfa, Curator: A site-specific exhibition, The Marfa Sessions was a group show of sound art created in response to the unique visual landscape and culture of Marfa, TX. Artists included: Kaffe Matthews; Nina Katchadourian; Christina Kubisch; Deborah Stratman and Steven Badgett; Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello; Steve Rowell and Simparch; Inigo Manglano-Ovalle; Julianne Swartz and Dario Robleto.
Co-founder/Editor of The Relay Project: The Relay Project was an audiomagazine comprised of interviews, stories, found sound, archived sound, music, and art. An Artforum Magazine Critics Choice in 2005
Artist exhibition or lecture: The Kitchen, NYU, PS1, Third Coast International Audio Festival, Mass MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Craft, Vedanta Gallery, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Fontanelle Gallery, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, University of Oregon, PICA, La Centro l Fontana of Barcelona, Hall Farm for the Arts
Composed: Music for and music supervised feature and documentary films and dance performances.
Guest vocals: On albums by: The Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Califone, Ted Leo, Laetitia Sadier, The Decemberists, Willie Nelson, The Minus Five, The Aluminum Group, The Mekons, Joan of Arc, and Akito Katayose
Cultural Advocacy: Member of the Future of Music Coalition. Consultant on their 2011 Survey of Artist Revenue Streams. Executive Director of The Agency League of Musicians.

In 2003 she moved to Rhode Island, taking a room at a friend’s house two miles from the coast.

“It was a period of intense retreat, reflection, recalibration, even amid all the projects I was developing. After a few weeks in the country I found myself going down to the basement to play guitar, loudly, late at night. Usually I start writing as soon as I play, about half the album was written then and there.”

The recording of the album began in the fall of 2004 and continued, in fits and starts, through the fall of 2011. Gates says it was a process “spurred on by engineers and peers”. Indeed, the list of musicians is impressive and includes members of Califone, The Decemberists, Godspeed You Black Emperor, The Jicks, Iron and Wine, Los Lobos, Tortoise, Silver Mt. Zion, The Sea and Cake, Wild Flag, Eleventh Dream Day, Blue Cranes and Portland Cello Project.

“The Float”, written near the Atlantic, the Pacific, on ranches and old bank buildings in west Texas, in the mountains of Vermont and during the travels in-between, showcases Gates love of space, sound, and rock ‘n’ roll.


Ruby Series (June 2001) Badman Recording Co.

Imp Years (April 2000) Merge Records
Arches and Aisles (June 1998) SubPop Records
Strand (February 1996) SubPop Records
Manos (October 1993) SubPop Records

“Whether folding Memphis R&B into slacker bedroom laments or post-rock abstractions into catchy pop, she nails the ennui of lovesick transitions and physical displacements with a marksman’s aim. And she might just possess the sexiest voice in rock.” – Entertainment Weekly

(compact disc version available from Parcematone)