LISTEN: Gazelle Twin & NYX – ‘Fire Leap’

A thrilling, nightmarish, pagan-inspired tune, Gazelle Twin and NYX Electronic Drone Choir have shared their new single ‘Fire Leap’. Taken from their upcoming album Deep England, which is set for release via NYX Collective Records on 19th March 2021, the track is a goose-bump inducing interpretation of the same song featured in the cult 1973 film, The Wicker Man.

Inspired by the songs that formed Gazelle Twin’s (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) critically acclaimed 2018 album Pastoral, Deep England continues the artist’s harrowing up of England’s “rotten past” and exploration of its uncertain future. GIHE were lucky enough to experience this collaborative effort live in 2019 at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall (read the full review here), and we were dazzled by their ghastly yet glorious performance.

Speaking about their upcoming record, Gazelle Twin & NYX comment: “Here lies our ancient future, Deep England: our hope and compassion in the chokehold of power and glory. Hand in hand, here we cry our rage: summoning a lament into the ether, a divine androgynous force, a transcendental purge of the dizzying chaos of post-truth Britain.”

Listen to ‘Fire Leap’ below and pre-order your copy of Deep England here.

Follow Gazelle Twin on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Follow NYX Drone Choir on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Credits for Deep England
Adélaïde Pratoussy, Cecilia Forssberg, Elizabeth Bernholz, Natalie Sharp, Ruth Corey, Shireen Qureshi and Sian O’Gorman.
Co-produced by Marta Salogni, Sian O’Gorman (NYX) and Elizabeth Bernholz (Gazelle Twin)
Mix and additional programming by Marta Salogni
Mastering by Heba Kadry

Photo Credit: Jamie Cameron

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Gazelle Twin & NYX present ‘Deep England’ – Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre 20.11.19

An engrossing, ghastly, but intensely beautiful carousel of sound, Gazelle Twin‘s Deep England collaboration with the NYX Drone Choir is unlike anything you’ve seen or heard before. Inspired by the tracks that formed Bernholz’s 2018 album Pastoral, the joint performance at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall continued the artist’s harrowing up of England’s “rotten past” and exploration of its uncertain future.

Through the power of combined operatic voices, St. George-meets-The-Handmaid’s-Tale costumes and creative staging, Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) and her team have created a claustrophobic, charged gallop of aural anarchy with this latest endeavour. Informed by British paganism and ritualistic activity, Deep England feels almost supernatural at points, especially during ‘Fire Leap’, which is lifted from the cult 1973 film The Wicker Man. Multiple recorders and kazoos are played – instruments of nostalgic folly turned into present, frightening farce – as the choir slowly moved around the stage, chanting the lyrical motif “Take the flame inside you / Burn and burn below”, like a warped spell.

‘Better In My Day’ abruptly broke this spell, with its nervous, persistent percussion. It stands out in terms of volume and energy, with Bernholz and her chorus performing frenzied, stunted movements whilst snarling their way through the lyrics. A spotlight on a tree at the back of the stage (which has been present throughout the performance) commands Bernholz to sit under it, as the intro synth sequence to ‘Sunny Stories’ begins to play. Bernhlz delivered her dark fable under the fake foliage, gently lulling the choir into following track ‘Golden Dawn’.

‘Throne’ brought Bernholz back to centre stage and down to her knees, singing of “insolvency” and racking up debts. Eponymous track ‘Deep England’ closed the performance in the same un-nerving way it began; dimly lit, with the choir and Bernholz’s voices seething in unison. Whilst Bernholz’s unique vision was brought vividly to life on her original record Pastoral, with the aid of the NYX drone choir her vitriol is able to take its fullest, most nerve-shredding form. Deep England is a phenomenal artistic accomplishment and a jarring reminder that our dark past is never too far behind us.

Deep England Credits:
Gazelle Twin: Elizabeth Bernholz
NYX vocalists: Adelaide Pratoussy, Cecilia Forssberg, Natalie Sharp, Ruth Corey, Shireen Querishi, Sian O’Gorman
Compositions and Music Direction: Elizabeth Bernholz and Sian O’Gorman
Movement Director: Imogen Knight
Sound Associate: Peter Rice
Production and Costume Design: Chloe Lamford
Stylist: Anna Josephs

Deep England was performed as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2019.

Photo Credit: Jamie Cameron

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Gazelle Twin & NYX Electronic Drone Choir to perform ‘Deep England’ as part of EFG London Jazz Festival

A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) has paired up with the NYX electronic drone choir once again to perform ‘Deep England’; a hair-raising transformation of her recent album Pastoral, which exhumes England’s “rotten past” and questions its uncertain future. The performance will take place on 20th November at Southbank Centre, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The collaboration was first commissioned and performed in December 2018 as part of a collaborative series at London’s Oval Space, but now Bernholz’s operatic voice will be displayed in all its glory alongside the equally as powerful voices of the NYX choir in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Together, Bernholz and NYX use their voices, acoustic glitching, polyphonic overtone and ambient textures to bring Gazelle Twin’s Pastoral vision to life. The unique choir explore and test the limits of organic and synthetic modulation to explore the entire spectrum of collective female voice as an instrument. Their veiled Handmaid’s-Tale-esque silhouettes are a formidable sight on stage, so expect to be blown away by the power and the glory of their live show.

GIHE will be at the show, and we urge you to grab a ticket for it here.

For more information about EFG London Jazz Festival events, click here.

ALBUM: Gazelle Twin – ‘Pastoral’

A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) combines glitchy beats, menacing samples and an uncanny new costume on her forthcoming album, Pastoral. Set to be released via her own label Anti-Ghost Moon Ray on 21st September, the record marks another transformation for the performer; this time she’s exhuming England’s “rotten past” and questioning its uncertain future.

Bernholz has been honing her own unique vision since the release of her debut album, The Entire City, in 2001. She released her sophomore record Unflesh in 2014 to critical acclaim, and between Motherhood and curating another two atmospheric records (2016’s Out Of Body & 2017’s audio/visual project Kingdom Come), she’s now released Pastoral – and it’s been worth the wait.

“What species is this? What century is this?” she questions on opener ‘Folly’, in a vocal pitch so high it practically curdles the blood. It sets the precedent for the rest of the album – electronic soundscapes that form a permanent sense of unease. Nervous, persistent percussion and repeated lyrics on ‘Better In My Day’ act as an apt parody of the clichéd phrase the track is named after. Bernholz’s warped vocals drip with apathy on ‘Little Lambs’, alongside twitchy synth samples and pulverizing drums. It seamlessly transitions in to ‘Old Thorn’, which recycles the same synth sequences, but which ring out with a different kind of intensity.

Gazelle Twin’s dystopian carousel of sound continues on following track ‘Dieu Et Mon Droit’, which translates as “God and my right”. The phrase is a motto associated with the British Monarchy, and Bernholz’s lyric “Dripping down like shit in to the sewer” feels like a repulsive but brilliant analogy to the Monarch’s inheritance to divine rights. It’s followed by ‘Throne’ – a brief but intriguing interlude of echos and slowly spoken words about power and the wounds it inflicts. When these tracks are performed live, one can imagine Bernholz’s jester-like, red and white costume acting as a powerful vitriolic visual aid here.

Midway through the record we arrive at ‘Mongrel’, with its lyrics – “what species is this? What century is this?” – shadowing opening track ‘Folly’. Her motif provides an insight in to the exhaustion her exploration of these themes can bring. The line “I’m too tired to protest but I’m too worried I’ll regret this. I’m not ready to accept this” feels particularly poignant in the current Brexit-obsessed political climate. The remarkable ‘Glory’ follows, with its slow-building, beguiling vocals and steady, deep drums that spread out across ominous synths.

The daintily named ‘Tea Rooms’ describes the unease of “living in a pastoral picture”, highlighting the uncomfortable reality lurking behind England’s quaint postcard image. The atmospheric ‘Jerusalem’ follows, before the marching beats and seething spoken-word lyrics of ‘Dance Of The Peddlers’ kicks in. It’s less of a dance, more a defiant attack on the Peddlers she speaks of. It transitions seamlessly in to the heart-palpitating ‘Hobby Horse’, which acts like a warning to said Peddlers to “get on your hobby horse and get out of here”. With her humble recorder, bared teeth and samples of football hooligan chants; Bernholz has created a claustrophobic, charged gallop of anarchy.

The false joviality of the synth sequences on ‘Sunny Stories’ are undermined by Bernholz’s powerful vocal display and an ominous under layer of sinister noise that rings out at even interludes. It’s a haunting penultimate track, and is followed by ‘Over The Hills’ which closes the record with an intriguing forty seconds of voice samples and a hymn-like soundscape. Gazelle Twin delivers her Pastoral vision through grinning but gritted teeth. Her altruistic style is one that can’t be mimicked – even though she herself is a master at adopting the traits of others, and transforming in to a new species of performer who offers brutality and intrigue in equal measure.

Pastoral is released on 21 September 2018 via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray. Pre-order here.
Follow Gazelle Twin on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut