• HNIA-Vol-3

His Name Is Alive – Hope Is A Candle: Home Recordings 1985-1990 Vol.3


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Fresh up on the Disciples label, another mesmerising excavation from the excellent His Name Is Alive archives - collecting the third round of tape-loop experiments and early signifiers of what was to come.

Warren Defever aka His Name Is Alive might have still been in his teenage years when the music was made, and from time to time you can hear a bit of 'imperfection' perhaps (in our eyes, it adds to the vibe of it all anyway) - but make no mistake, these are beautiful pieces that feel confident, yet full of intrigue and a keen ear for exploration of frequency and harmony of the guitar, the effects and the way they resonate with the tape saturation.

At times such as on the third track 'Liadin' it kind of sounds like a heavier version of the kind of meditative frequency rhythm washes that Micheal O'Shea was making on his self made instrument some years prior, then it swerves into out-at-sea type sunset drifts through tape-delayed, self-oscillating call & responses between chords on the guitar and the reverberant wash of reverb that answers back like the tide crashing into the shore.
On the following track, there's a kind of ceremonious, far-eastern, or south-east-asian type thing going on, with delayed percussive elements juggling over a kind of psychedelic guitar line - this one plays out like a shorter skit, and eludes perfectly into the next cut, which incorporates a sliding range of chords that seem to lift spirits perfectly out of the previous swirl, there's some euphoria here, but as seems to be the case on most recordings here, there's still a constant heaviness that pulls from below, a kind of stoned melancholy that anchors each wail & cry of the instruments and the way they speak to the effects machines, and the tape loops that manifest it all. If we had to give a perfect example of the anguished beauty of this record, we'd mention 'Still' - a real highlight, which, again perfectly elevates with the next track 'Halo' - what a trip!

There's a fine, fluttered line to be heard here on this record -
Hope Is A Candle: Home Recordings 1985-1990 Vol.3 sits somewhere between archival showreel, unpretentious home-experimentation and the introspective approach to sound spurred on by an undoubtedly fascinating combination of haptic instruments and the magic of tape, which seems to really inspire a highly meditative effect to these recordings - serious drifters, heavy as led but still high up in the clouds somehow.

Interesting background info on these recordings and how they align with some of the musical universe around it, as told by Disciples:
"Much of the material contained here was duplicated on the infamous demo tape that caught the ear of Ivo Watts-Russell and led to elements being re-worked into Livonia, the first His Name Is Alive album on 4AD. Having circulated in poor quality form as a bootleg for many years, it’s a revelation to hear this music transferred from the original reels and mastered by Defever himself (who is one of the head engineers at Third Man’s mastering studio in Detroit). Some of the sounds here touch on the kind of dreampop which 4AD was known for at the time - the gauzy textures of the Cocteau Twins or This Mortal Coil, and predicts the saturated textures of the incoming shoegaze sound. But there’s also echoes of older, more esoteric sources: early minimalist works, 80s industrial records, even the blues and folk sounds documented by Folkways. The young Defever trying to interpret formative influences using a primitive home recording set-up and stumbling upon their own unique sound as a result of this tentative experimentation.

As the artist recounts in the liner notes: “I wanted to do my own music For 18 Musicians. But I didn't know 18 musicians; I barely had two friends, and even they couldn't stand me.”

....There you go we told you it's introspective music, made for no one in particular. And that's what we love about it -

Step in if you want to, but it's dark in here so you might as well close your eyes and just listen to these deep, heartache'd, high-on-musical-intrigue sounds from

A beautifully heavy record, truly great stuff.

Artwork by our dear Studio Tape-Echo.
Served with printed sleeve and liner notes.
Pressed on clear wax, with one continuously flowing groove on each side.
Lacquer cut by Beau Thomas at Ten Eight Seven Mastering.

Warren Defever: guitar, piano, sampler, echo, phaser
Shelley Salant: tape transfer engineer and archivist
All songs by Warren Defever (Perforate My Heart Music, BMI)
Liner Notes by Mike McGonigal and Warren Defever
Cover photo by Angie Carozzo
Commissioned by Disciples

1.Princess (2:14)
2.Either (2:41)
3.Coldless (2:57)
4.Liadin (2:50)
5.Disappear (2:00)
6.Never (1:31)
7.Pass (1:31)
1.Nearby (2:55)
2.Salendro (3:05)
3.Porter (2:35)
4.Still (2:24)
5.Halo (3:52)
6.Insiders (3:02)