LISTEN: Divide and Dissolve – ‘Denial’

An exhilarating, powerful soundscape that aims to erode the foundations of colonialism and liberate the land for black and indigenous communities, multidimensional duo Divide and Dissolve have shared their latest single ‘Denial’. Taken from their upcoming album Gas Lit, which is set for release on 29th January 2021 via Invada Records, the track is an eerie cacophony of thunderous riffs, ear-shattering percussion and uncanny saxophone notes that aim to eradicate white supremacy.

“Sometimes we don’t need to talk in order for others to understand what’s going on,” the duo explain about their intense instrumentals. “We are communicating with our ancestors through the music. Our ancestors help us to communicate with each other on a deeper level as well. This deep connection is able to be achieved without words.” Through their blend of visceral noise and captivating visuals, Divide and Dissolve – formed of Takiaya Reed (Black & Tsalagi [Cherokee]) and Sylvie Nehill (Māori) – dismantle the social frameworks that prevent black and indigenous communities from thriving in an equal society.

The accompanying video for ‘Denial’ was shot in Taupo, Aotearoa by indigenous director Amber Beaton. “I’m a huge fan of Divide and Dissolve and so happy to have made this video for them,” Beaton explains. “I understand and appreciate the message behind the music and I wanted to make sure the video held the same intentions no matter how subtle.”

“For instance, we start off with a shot of a Kōwhai tree. Native to Aotearoa, Kōwhai in bloom signifies to Māori that some seafood is ready for harvest, the roots can be used to make fishing hooks, the sap on the sunny side of the tree can be used to heal wounds… but the vibrancy of the yellow flower was also the first thing Captain Cook saw when he arrived on the shores of Aotearoa signalling the start of colonial violence on this whenua/land. The changing colours of its flower in the video represents our change as a country and as people since that fateful arrival.”

Dedicated to shining a light on social injustices both past and present, Divide and Dissolve continue to demand equality on thunderous new offering ‘Denial’, which serves as another reminder of the duo’s talent for creating abrasive yet graceful soundscapes.

Listen to the track below.

 

Follow Divide and Dissolve on bandcampInstagramSpotify, Twitter & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Billy Eyers

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Fern Ford – ‘Match’

Sparse beats and atmospheric electronics permeate ‘Match’, the debut single from Fern Ford. Released via AWAL, the track is a slow-burning soundscape inspired by Ford’s desire to overcome feelings of self doubt.

Best known as the drummer for Mercury Prize nominated band The Big Moon, Ford’s solo work is a world away from the garage-rock anthems she creates with the group, who released their second album Walking Like We Do earlier this year. On ‘Match’, Ford allows space for her musings about trusting your intuition with her tentative beats and ambient keys.

Speaking about the track, Ford explains: “I first started writing 8 years ago, armed with just a Casiotone 202 and a xylophone. Being the drummer in a band, I always felt like maybe I should stay in my lane and leave the song writing to the pros. It felt a bit like imposter syndrome, helped by the fact that the music I was making didn’t sound like the music I was hearing around me, which made me think that maybe I was doing it wrong. I soon realised that was silly. Over the years the self-doubt subsided and with a bit of practise, I finally found my voice. ‘Match’ is about trusting your intuition. It’s about realising your strength and finding comfort in the unknown.”

Listen to ‘Match’ below and follow Fern Ford on Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: George Selwyn-Brace

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Elsa Hewitt – ‘Ghostcats’

Whatever your mood, electronic artist & producer Elsa Hewitt has a tune to defuse or accompany it. What she achieves through improvisation, many would struggle to create with the most calculated intentions; and her dizzying blend of looped synths & vocals on new EP Ghostcats beautifully showcases her intuitive talent.

Described by Hewitt as an “opener” for her next release Lupa (due later this year), Ghostcats is a collection of minimal electronic compositions that have a soothing, almost translucent quality to them. Filled with celestial looping vocal harmonies, the ambient ‘Godly’ opens the EP, followed by the equally ethereal ‘Massive Charade’. It meanders in to brief but beautiful tracks ‘Wave State’ and ‘Mounting Up’. On each of her tracks, Hewitt’s breathy vocals and spacious synthesizers merge together to create a soothing, fuzzy atmosphere reminiscent of a lucid dream.

There’s a pleasantly jarring quality to tracks ‘Still’, ‘Kevlar’ and ‘Easy’, whilst ‘Raspberry’ is sweet and breezy. On ‘Velvet Scrunchy’, it feels like Hewitt is toying with the soft accessory the track is named after; gently opening and closing her palm around the garment. The twinkling sound of ‘Rebird’ close the EP, which from its opening loop has been a soothing sonic head rush.

A much needed distraction in these strange times, Elsa Hewitt’s Ghostcats is a blissful electronic offering, designed to leave you reassuringly lightheaded.

 

Buy your limited edition Ghostcats cassette via Bandcamp here.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: A.A. Williams

A creator of heavy, beguiling soundscapes; London-based musician A.A. Williams has been compared to the likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, but she’s captivating in her own right. Her 2019 self-titled debut EP caught the attention of critics and fans, and now she’s set to return to the prestigious Roadburn Festival in April this year, as well performing a headline show at London’s Southbank Centre in March. We caught up with Williams to ask her about her EP, her collaboration with Japanese instrumental giants MONO, and her anticipations for her London gig…

 

It’s been just over a year since you released your debut EP (Congratulations!) What are you most proud of about this record? And do you have a favourite track?

Thank you! I’m so pleased that the songs resonate with people. Hearing so many positive words from people at shows makes me very proud of what these tracks have become. I don’t have a favourite song. They are each important to me in their own right.

You beautifully cover Dolly Parton’s track ‘Jolene’ on the EP. If you had to pick someone to cover one of your tracks, who would you pick?

I think Johnny Cash would have done a beautiful version of ‘Control’.

The EP also features three “stripped down” live rehearsal recordings. What process do you go through when deciding which songs you’re going to strip back? What elements of a live recording do you enjoy the most?

Generally, each song can be stripped down, because each song begins in that form, as a voice and with either guitar or piano. The hardest thing is to decide how to treat the instrumental sections, sometimes I’ll sing a guitar line or incorporate a few melodies into one piano part, but generally the main focus is to ensure that the arrangement has enough space and doesn’t sound too mechanical. I love all elements of recording, I’d spend every day in a studio if I could. The best thing is to press record when you’re running a song, just in case, even if you don’t feel fully prepared! You never know what magic will happen.

You’ve just released a split EP with MONO. We know you toured with them last year, but talk us through how this collaboration came about, and what the reaction to the record has been like so far.

Taka heard my EP and got in touch to see if working together would be something I’d be interested in. I’d met the band briefly at Roadburn 2019 (I was performing with them during their headline show. They performed ‘Hymn To The Immortal Wind’ with a string quartet, of which I was a part), I couldn’t wait to take on the opportunity! We emailed some ideas between us and gradually found the time to record in July last year. I’ve been so pleased with the reaction. It’s great to see that fans of instrumental music are open to the inclusion of vocals and a slightly different approach.

You’ll be making your Southbank Centre debut when you headline The Purcell Room on March 12th (tickets available here). What are your anticipations for this gig?

I’m so excited for this performance. I’ll be extending the full-band line up to include a string quartet and adding some guest vocalists too. Up to this point, all of my shows have been supports or festivals, so it’ll be a joy to be able to spend more time on stage and create a fuller show.

Do you have plans to release new music this year?

I’m always writing, so fingers crossed!

Who, or what inspires you to create your music?

I find writing a very therapeutic process, so I’ll often begin working on a song because purely because I find it enjoyable. I don’t deliberately write inspired by anything or anyone, though ultimately we are each a sum of everything we’ve ever heard, seen and felt.

You’re returning to Arctangent festival this year in August. Is there anyone on the line-up you’re looking forward to seeing?

I’m really looking forward to seeing Maybeshewill and Amenra, and I’d like to catch Swans and Svalbard too! The weather was so awful last year that I didn’t really get to see many other artists, so hopefully I can remedy that this time around.

As we’re a new music blog, we always ask the artists we interview to name a new band or artist they’ve been listening to. Who would you like to recommend?

Gaupa’s 2018 self-titled EP is so good! It’s as if Björk had formed a psych-stoner band. Also, I know they’re not new, but I was recently introduced to Khemmis. I’ve really been enjoying their album, Absolution.

Thanks to A.A. Williams for answering our questions.
Follow her on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.