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

Five Favourites (Drummers): Eilis Frawley

We’ve been big fans of Berlin-based classically trained percussionist Eilis Frawley for some time now, especially since she took our breath away playing live for us at Notting Hill Arts Club last year. With recent single ‘Stats’, she offered arresting beats set against bold, Krautrock-infused spoken word, as the lyrics addressed hard-hitting stats, highlighting the everyday injustices facing women today. Tackling issues such as period poverty, FGM, domestic violence and other vital issues, it’s a beautifully striking and necessary listen. As is the entirety of her just released EP Adult Life

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. So, we caught up with Eilis to discuss the five (well, six, actually!) drummers that inspire her the most.

Here are 6 of my favourite drummers/percussionists, all from different scenes with totally different playing styles but all 100% owning what they do.

Fleur Green
Fleur Green was my first percussion teacher, when I was 16. She was tough, in the best way. I spent just one year learning from her before she moved abroad, but I’ll never forget her discipline, especially to her own artistic practice. She led by example and was highly committed with a no bullshit attitude. From the very beginning she instilled in me a diligence towards music I’ve carried through the years. She’s such an inspiration. She’s back in Adelaide now and performs under Fleur Green.

Chi Fukami Taylor
Chi Fukami Taylor was the first female drummer I saw perform on a big stage – and she completely nailed it. It was 2007 and she played with The Go! Team at Falls festival in Victoria. She had so much groove, and it was the first time I witnessed someone playing drums and singing. I’m still shocked people can sing in tune and play drums, that’s alot of brain power.

Seol Kim
Seol Kim – Known as Snow is one half of Oh Chill (57) from Seoul. I had the pleasure of sharing the bill with her multiple times in Seoul and also in Berlin. Snow does not mess around. Another singing drummer, she’s a hard hitter, her timing is impeccable and her grooves always leaving you wanting more. She’ll keep you on your toes.

Sara Neidorf
Sara is a Berlin drummer. We share the same practice space, and no-one sounds like her. You always know when she’s in the building. Her fills are outta control. She’s fast, dynamic and playful. She’s involved in scenes I’m not too familiar with but hearing her play alone is already a treat! Aptera is one of her projects I’ve seen live, and wow the skill! Highly recommend looking into what she’s doing, especially if you’re into heavier music.

Valentina Magaletti
Valentina Magaletti is the only person on this list who I haven’t met, or seen play live, BUT I’m so impressed by her playing, she crosses over so perfectly from pop drummer to experimental percussion wizard. She’s behind so many great projects but I recently discovered Tomaga and it’s a total stand out! Go listen to them.

Mindy Abovitz
Mindy Abovitz has to be on this list as well, for not only pursuing drums as a self taught drummer, but for creating TomTom Mag, connecting female* drummers all over the world and changing the media representation of drummers. She’s outstanding.

Massive thanks to Eilis for sharing her choices with us!

Adult Life, the new EP from Eilis Frawley, is out now via Reckless Yes. Listen now. And watch the recent video for the poignant ‘Stats’ here:

Photo Credit: Janina Gallert