Dead Space Chamber - Hagioscope Obscura (DSCM lockdown live streams)
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The spectre of early music, regional proverbs and Welsh folklore looms large in their music (instead of DCD's global pilfering). Deadspace is a beating dark heart of pure dream drama and past rituals - often playing in stately churches like St Thomas on the Wall (isn't it nice that they don't burn witches anymore?). Their Dark Alchemy nights created a small close-knit community over the past few years of traders and musicians including Rwdfwd favourites Organchrist & international dark ambient acts like The Nent - always propped up and usually out-staged by the house band. It's that unbeatable combo of live ritual, candle light, vocal theatrics, stained glass, cello, guitar and drums.
We were lucky to grab the last copies of Haigoscope - a collection of their lockdown recordings (and honestly, the only livestreams we had any interest in viewing).
Let's get to the music inside: rousing misty calls from our past life in the highlands, crackling drums and caustic rustles of ritualised percussion, anguished cello and spectral cries on 'Liemont', cut through with piercing guitar wails. Also the jaw-dropping highlight of 'Y Dref Wen / The Shining Town' (a collab with NYC's Tribes of Medusa forthcoming). An epic of funeral wah wah doom squalls weaved by a spidery guitar line and percussion that floats on air - peaking into a crescendos of pure dark release. It's the kind of track that demands 10 minutes of your sweet mortal coil just to get you to where it's going. Ooooof, not a dry eye on the livestream...
While the whole band works as a unit beyond its years, special shoutout must go to Ellen Southern's vocal acrobatics, she's a rare singer of really stunning range who can pummel along with the guitar lines and drums when things really get going. (Some of you might recognise Ellen Southern's voice from recent adventures with Roly Porter)
Their songs have such a sense of place and atmosphere it's baffling that this tape was created under current life fuckery conditions. There's something truly beautiful about this tape , though they might seem heavy and dark. These 'Lockdown Recordings' take us back to eating space cakes on church pews without sadness, they are transportative, giving you a hope for the future of music that makes them ultimately one of the most hopeful documents of this period.
RIYL recent drops from ATC's Salac
Long live the Deadspace!
*includes download code*
1 Liement Me Deport
3 O Virtus Sapientiae
4 Bryd One Brere
5 Laude Novella (collaboration w/ Satori)
6 Y Dref Wen / The Shining Town (collaboration w/ Tribes of Medusa)
7 Sycamore Trees
Recorded as Dark Alchemy lockdown live streams in March and June 2020, the tracks released are a combination of unreleased and brand new material.
About the tracks:
1 Reinterpretation of a virelai by Guillaume de Machaut (1300 - 1377)
2 Inspired by Edgard Varèse
3 Interpretation of a sacred chant by Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179)
4 'Bird on a Briar', reinterpretation of the earliest surviving English secular love song (c. 1290–1320)
5 Reinterpretation of an early medieval devotional song from Italy, anon, Laudario di Cortona codex
6 Reinterpretation of a traditional Welsh song about an isolated, abandoned town.
7 Cover of the song by Angelo Badalamenti, originally performed by Jimmy Scott
Tom Bush: guitar + treatments
Liz Paxton (in absentia): cello
Katie Murt (in absentia): drums / percussion
Ellen Southern: voice, psaltery, live sound textures (whirly tube, broken ceramics, breaking of dry branches, thunder drum), tambourine