This is my first introduction to Karen Gwyer and per usual I skipped past all the written words accompanying the music and I just hit play. It was mid-morning, driving out to meet my family for a short vacation in the Texas hill country. Highway 1431 runs in between my city and the next and it winds every which way, including up and down, with a maximum 55 miles per hour speed limit and it’s just gorgeous. This Rembo LP filled most of the journey and left me feeling calm and cerebral, which is gold for the soul when you’re raising children lemme yell ya.

It’s clear that Gwyer is thoughtful about what she does, from her production methods and ideas, down to the call and response nature of her track titles. “Why is there a long line in front of the factory?” “The workers are on strike.” “Why does your father look so nervous.” “He’s been teaching me how to drive…” She also espouses a very improvisational work ethic where she performs live several times and then translates that back to tape later in the studio. In this way she likens herself to the DJ and their connection to a crown and ability to run with that.

Taking all of the philosophical ideas circling around her identity as a music maker, what you have at the end is a beautiful set of boundary-less music translated from brain to tape, by someone who is eager to be and do something outside of the boxes we so often find ourselves lumped into.

Karen Gwyer: Rembo (Dont Be Afraid)
1. Karen Gwyer: Why Is There a Long Line in Front of the Factory? (03:44)
2. Karen Gwyer: The Workers Are on Strike (07:11)
3. Karen Gwyer: Why Don’t You Make Your Bed? (05:52)
4. Karen Gwyer: It’s Not Worth the Bother (01:59)
5. Karen Gwyer: Why Does Your Father Look so Nervous? (05:44)
6. Karen Gwyer: He’s Been Teaching Me to Drive (07:55)
7. Karen Gwyer: Did You Hear the Owls Last Night? (03:59)
8. Karen Gwyer: Yes, but I Didn’t Know They Were Owls (02:48)

First published in 5 Magazine #150 featuring Brian Tappert, Marc Pomeroy and the Making of Traxsource, DJ Three and Hallucienda, Kiko Navarro, Richard Earnshaw and Lee Bright, the decline & fall of SoundCloud, the House Music Canon & more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music for only $2 per month.

Dustin Kinney is a passionate, opinionated house DJ and writer in Austin, TX. His friends will tell you he hates everything, but it’s a LIE! Don’t believe them.