Grievous Bodily Calm Take A Deep Dive Through 'Cascades'

4 August 2023 | 3:55 pm | Grievous Bodily Calm

Perth's five-piece instrumental collective Grievous Bodily Calm have taken a deep dive through their new EP, Cascades, for The Music.

Grievous Bodily Calm

Grievous Bodily Calm (Credit: Nick Fitzpatrick)

Cascades is a set of seven songs connected by the allusion to water as both a representational and metaphorical device. The EP flows from start to finish, woven with a poetic narrative that reflects the band’s impressions of experiences, nature and life. Musically it is a meeting of jazz-influenced improvisational performance combined with bright, electronic instrumentation and production.

The most striking difference in the creation of this EP from our previous work was making the decision to record in a professional studio and work with an engineer. We recorded our first two records - Repel (2019) & Arc (2020) at our home studio. This was vital for us as a band - it was a trial-by-fire approach to recording, allowing us to refine our recording and production techniques while making mistakes and learning from the process.

We were able to take all this experience to a brilliant engineer - Dan Carroll, and work with him in his studio in Fremantle over many sessions. Dan mixed our Repel record, and we have an awesome relationship with him. The environment of the studio and Dan’s expertise allowed us to experiment with many different approaches - using different drums between songs as well as appropriate tunings, an expanded palette of guitar tones, recording with an acoustic piano and most of all - clearer and higher quality recordings.

We recorded synths and bass at home, and after many trips from the city to Fremantle to mix the record, we emerged with a finished product that is the best-sounding record in GBC’s catalogue.

Musically, the Cascades EP differs widely across the tunes whilst maintaining our signature sound - the meeting of acoustic instruments with synthesizers and electronic production, a mixture of simplicity and complexity with the expression of a wide emotional palette at the forefront.

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We also wanted to return to making a concept record - something we absolutely love doing and feel works well with our aesthetic. We had done this on Repel, and it stems from our love of 70’s prog rock, metal and modern records such as Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Solange’s A Seat At The Table. The EP runs from start to finish as one movement. The song titles are descriptive of themselves as well as representational of our impressions of life, both literal and subconscious - the track names allow us to attach our intention to the tunes without the need for lyrics.

In the EP, we seek to place our listeners in the landscape depicted on the cover. Arpeggiated synthesizers, rolling patterns, and washes of noise are featured in YawpCascadesSpirals, and Perennial Stream to return attention to the eternal movement of water.

In Yawp, the band enter with strong hits to bring the sequence of events into motion, much like and in some sense alluding to the star depicted on the cover - the EP’s cosmos comes into being. Whilst this tune floats, there is a tension and agitation within it that carries into Cloutbusting. A lot of our songs become representations of the labour and ethos that goes into making music. 

Cloutbusting is a call for us to remember to always pursue authenticity whilst engaging with the world. In Cascades, we are transported into the waterfalls on the cover, experiencing downward falling melodies - then, floating without a sense of up or down in High Fly. 

The remainder of the record represents a transition into acceptance of the tension and insecurity mentioned above. Brotherbear is a celebration of community, warmth and sincerity, flowing into Spirals, which encourages and acknowledges the spiralling and winding movement towards ideal.

Finally, in Perennial Stream, the theme from Cascades is re-contextualised in a calm state, representing the endlessness of the process and the inner calm that is fostered by the stillness of the mind.

Grievous Bodily Calm’s new EP, Cascades, is out today via the group’s own label, Thought Tapes. You can listen to the EP below and order it on vinyl via Bandcamp. Catch them on tour across Australia this month.


AUG 15, 2023 – Phoenix Central Park, Sydney, Australia

AUG 16, 2023 – The Vanguard, Sydney, Australia

AUG 17, 2023 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, Australia

AUG 18, 2023 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

AUG 19, 2023 – The Lab, Adelaide, Australia

AUG 25, 2023 – The Rechabite, Perth, Australia

SEP 23, 2023 – Wave Rock Weekender, Hyden, Australia (SOLD OUT)

OCT 18, 2023 - OCT 21, 2023 – SXSW Sydney

Find tickets on the band’s website.