Artists to Watch in 2018: Exhibitionist
2017 has been a pretty gangbusters year all-round on the Australian music scene. We’ve always delivered a pretty fertile bunch of artists, but after this well and truly phenomenal year for new and rising stars, it’s really starting to feel like there’s something in the water…
Multi-instrumentalist Kirsty Tickle aka EXHIBITIONIST is a leading example of this year’s most promising emerging talent. The classically-trained clarinetist has been deeply embedded in various facets of the local music scenes, previously hitting the stage with indie bands by the likes of The John Steele Singers, Parades and Skinny Jean. More recently, Kirsty has been seen alongside Jonathan Boulet in their beautifully idiosyncratic noise duo, Party Dozen, before striking out with this intoxicating solo project.
Along with everyone else, we were completely captivated by Exhibitionist’s debut release, ‘Hands’. Kirsty’s vocals are delicate and enchanting, carefully sculpting phrases and tones that exude solace amid iridescent hues of unease. The track’s highly polished production also exhibits a mashup of styles and textures, brilliantly poised in juxtaposition to her raw, ethereal voice.
During an interview with us at BIGSOUND, Kirsty shed some light on the milieu for this new project, revealing:
“I started Exhibitionist at the end of last year, I just sat down and started writing. I was going through some really tumultuous personal things and just used Exhibitionist as a massive outlet to basically deal with those feelings… I wrote ‘Hands’ when I just really did not know how to process the emotions that I was feeling; feeling like I didn’t want to be in this thing but I didn’t know why I didn’t want to be in it.”
Exhibitionist undeniably harbours an array of distinct and inimitable characteristics, and there’s definitely room for something of that nature right now. With so many people making music, particularly on our rich golden soils, achieving a unique identity that hasn’t already been somewhat covered is very difficult. This original talent seen in Exhibitionist served as a key factor for ‘Hands’ getting such a good reception: no one had heard a song like that before and it’s also a bloody great song.
Having initially released ‘Hands’ via TEEF, obviously the guys at Future Classic thought it was pretty special too, and they quickly lunged at the opportunity to get behind Exhibitionist and put out the song again as a joint label release. Since the signing was announced in August, two remixes also came along with the news, courtesy of Thrupence and Willaris. K, with Exhibitionist’s second single release, ‘Motionless’, coming shortly afterwards.
‘Motionless’ struck an entirely different chord of connotations and vibes, deviating from the sentiments and tones laid down in ‘Hands’ and instead bolster swelling strings, flourishing harmonies and another side to Exhibitionist‘s musical versatility.
These two contrasting releases, paired with what we’ve seen in Exhibitionist‘s live performances, says a lot for her songwriting abilities and musical prowess. She essentially put out a knockout debut that unintentionally got everyone wanting to hear more and then had to write a whole lot more songs in a short period of time in order to pull together a live set. Furthermore, they’re all really good, well written songs! While we are still yet to see the release of her debut EP, the live show exhibits most of Exhibitionist‘s current repertoire and each song is wonderfully curated and stands out on its own.
Exhibitionist is certainly packing some pretty big guns that are ready to fire at any moment, and with her debut EP due for co-release by Future Classic and TEEF next year, 2018 is pretty much guaranteed to send sparks flying.
Words by FREYA DINESEN
Image: Amanda Merten