Released via Dero Arcade on February 16th, Divide & Dissolve‘s second album Abomination is a sonic force to be reckoned with. The Melbourne-based duo curate heavy-instrumentals designed to “decolonize, dismantle white supremacy, and empower people of color & Indigenous people” – and their latest efforts have succeeded in undermining the forces which seek (and fail) to suppress them.
Together, Takiaya Reed (saxophone, guitar, live effects) and Sylvie Nehill (drums, live effects) have been receiving praise and support since the release of their debut Basic in March 2017, which earned them the accolade of ‘Best Heavy Album’ at The Age Music Victoria Awards. This year they’ve been granted a support slot with Poliça on their forthcoming US tour, and after listening to Abomination, it’s easy to see why Divide & Dissolve are currently in demand.
Opening the album is the eponymous ‘Abomination’: it’s five minutes and fifty seconds of unnerving riffs and ceaseless cymbals, crashing together to form a desolate but powerful soundscape. It paves the way for eerie second track ‘Assimilation’ – poised between chaos and calm from the moment it starts. There’s an intense power in the lack of lyrical content on these songs, which feels reflective of the repressed minorities the pair seek to support with their music. ‘Cultural Extermination’ is another shining example of this; the abrasive break down mid-way through being the track highlight. The pair say so much with their sounds alone, that words would detract from their impact.
The spoken word from Minori Sanchiz-Fung on ‘Reversal’, however, is incredibly potent. “By using English, I have let out many violent spirits. Words that I trust would in English, fling themselves against the wall” speaks Minori from her “Immigrant Mind”; in a composed, vigilant, but visceral manner. Subtle, reverb-heavy guitar scores her incredible poetry, making this collaboration an intriguing, important listen. ‘Resistance’ follows with its manic sax sounds that ring out like defiant sirens in the face of adversity – resisting all notions of conformity.
The brief but bold ‘Re-appropriation’ demands immediate attention with more of the pair’s crashing cymbals and abrasive riffs, before the penultimate ‘Reparations’ seeks to musically right the wrongs that white supremacy and patriarchy have inflicted on indigenous communities. Its slow-building, atmospheric nature seethes and soothes in equal measure, before ‘Indigenous Sovereignty’ closes this exploration of the unheard.
The eight tracks on Abomination are a platform on which Divide & Dissolve “transform the experience of space and time” and draw on the experiences of their ancestors and surroundings to create their unique and extraordinary sounds. It’s instrumentalist activism that seeks to disrupt the norm – and we love it.
Photo Credit: @annasnowsill