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.

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Photo Credit: Billy Eyers

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Divide & Dissolve – ‘Abomination’

A sonic force to be reckoned with, Melbourne-based duo Divide & Dissolve‘s second album Abomination, released via Dero Arcade is a collection of heavy-instrumentals designed to “decolonize, dismantle white supremacy and empower people of colour & Indigenous people.”

Together, Takiaya Reed (saxophone, guitar, live effects) and Sylvie Nehill (drums, live effects) seek to undermine the forces that oppress them. The duo 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 spoken word from Minori Sanchiz-Fung on ‘Reversal’ is incredibly poignant. “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, but visceral manner. Subtle, reverb-heavy guitar scores her incredible poetry, making this collaboration an intriguing and 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 Divide & Dissolve’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.

Abomination is available to stream  & download now. Follow Divide & Dissolve on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: @annasnowsill

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut