ALBUM: Divide and Dissolve – ‘Gas Lit’

An exhilarating, powerful assembly of sounds designed to erode the foundations of colonialism and liberate the land for indigenous communities, instrumental activists Divide and Dissolve‘s second album Gas Lit smoulders with a righteous fury. Produced by Ruban Neilson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the record is an aural purging of injustice, fuelled by the diversity of Takiaya Reed’s doom-ridden saxophone sounds and Sylvie Nehill’s phenomenal percussion. It’s the band’s first full length release since their 2018 album Abomination, and much like its predecessor it flows with a unique gargantuan grace.

Released via Invada Records, Gas Lit sees Divide and Dissolve continue their sonic mission to disrupt toxic white supremacy. Reed & Nehill’s sublime instinct for colossal drop-ins permeates their music and acts as a powerful weapon in the fight against inequality. These cathartic shifts in sound permeate Gas Lit, and opening track ‘Oblique’ is the first of many aural shockwaves to hit listeners. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but neither are the issues the band are confronting. Silence in a world of inequality is damaging, and Divide and Dissolve seek to shatter the illusions surrounding this. The intense grit of ‘Prove It’ continues to hammer this message home, with its pulverizing beats and caustic riffs.

The pensive spoken words of poet Minori Sanchiz-Fung on ‘Did You Have Something To Do With It’ bring to life a poignant question that underscores the record: “are [we] a part of this world / or its affliction?” It bleeds into the epic seven and a half minute ‘Denial’, which is a disorientating sonic whirlwind of thunderous riffs, ear-shattering percussion and uncanny saxophone notes. The visceral sounds on ‘Far From Ideal’ and ‘It’s Really Complicated’ beautifully embellish the band’s narrative charge against oppression and provide more riotous cacophonies to escape into.

On ‘Mental Gymnastics’ and ‘We Are Really Worried About You’ Reed flexes more of her extraordinary sax-playing muscles and her ear for intense riff distortion. On the latter, they’re combined with Nehill’s crashing cymbals to form a swirling vortex of cathartic dissonance, reiterating the band’s message that the sufferings of indigenous communities have evolved beyond what’s “recorded in stone / and in bone.” The resentment and need to overcome this is now so strong that – in the words of Minori Sanchiz-Fung – “language can’t console it.” Divide and Dissolve are here to give weight and validation to these voices, and Gas Lit is a majestic and moving effort to do so.

Pre-order your copy of Divide and Dissolve’s new album Gas Lit here.

Follow Divide and Dissolve on bandcampInstagramSpotifyTwitter & Facebook

Photo Credit: Billy Eyers

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

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 diffuse 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’ closes the EP, which from the opening loop provides 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