Dead Space Chamber Music — A sonic trip through dark forests and ancient castles

We have started going back to gigs – yes, with other people around us – no longer restricted to an experience on a screen. As a new situation seems to be developing in which many bands do not include London in the tour schedule, we are delighted to turn up in person to those who do to demonstrate our gratitude to bands whose creative work deserves more than a device.

With all these thoughts swirling around our brains, we travel to New River Studios and are immediately drawn to the Dead Space Chamber Music live photo 2022stage which was strewn with the most unusual set of objects; like ‘found objects’ or even ‘crime scene’ exhibits. We did not have to wait long before the Dead Space Chamber Music quartet appeared, quietly filling the stage with an air of mystery and ritual. What followed made me wonder how and why I had failed to become aware of this band and convinced me that I had to use this text to try to persuade all of you who read it to support and give them your time and attention.
Certainly, a band with such an intriguing name excites one’s imagination and, when youDead Space Chamber Music live photo see them perform live, it all makes sense. Ellen (Southern) seemed to have been summoned by an invisible creature as a channeler of energies, atmospheres and ideas that were not referring to the ‘here’ and ‘now’ – and this eventually had a relieving effect on me! Dead Space Chamber Music live photoAt last, here is some music that has otherworldly elements, at last here is a band that dares us to dream. Joining her on stage were Tom Bush, Katie Murt and Liz Paxton, who were taming the guitar, the drums and the cello.

Ellen’s vocal and visual storytelling was accompanied by ambient soundscapes which were intercepted by tribal and martial rhythms. For the next hour or so, the band took us on a journey that included ethereal awakenings, occultDead Space Chamber Music live photo meanderings, and pagan rituals. We listened to songs covering most of their albums and let ourselves be guided on a journey with increased conceptual and rhythmic intensity. Screws, broken plates, chimes, and music bowls were employed as paths that conveyed meaning and distributed energy. At the same time, the band started moving closer to us; led by Katie, who placed herself among us with a rope drum, beating out a rhythm that seemed to call the rest of the band to abandon their places in response to it. When the instrumental parts of the songs were not creating a heavy, noisy and ‘muffled’ trance, the songs shuffled between Qntal, Rosa Crux and early Dead Space Chamber Music live photoDead Can Dance references. Sinister vocals, coupled with dissonant but coloured sounds, were creating an atmosphere that gradually enveloped everybody. We still cannot forget the song that accompanied the danse macabre or, rather, the waltz with a fake animal skull. The moment when Ellen danced in a circle addressing the skull in her hands, as if it were the spirit of an important entity, was a particularly strong one. Everyone seemed enchanted throughout the set as we observed the band producing soundDead Space Chamber Music live photo from a bowed psaltery (characteristic of Asian music), a plateful of screws, broken ceramics, shells, a beaten singing bowl, an Dead Space Chamber Music live photounconventionally played tambourine, and small cymbals. The band’s visual interest was another strong element, as Ellen transformed pocket mirrors into a kind of energy portal and the singing bowl into a seemingly sacred vessel. The set ended with Ellen and Katie amongst us again, playing mind games with sound produced by shuffling screws laid on two plates like remnants of a dismantled structure or the beginnings of one to be erected in our minds by this set.

hackedepicciotto — An osmosis of energies and sounds

We still couldn’t believe we would see hackedepicciotto on the humble stage of New River Studios but, just a few minutes later, there they were, standing in front of us. They kicked off their set with ‘Defiance’, a captivating track that set the tone and instantly liftedhackedepicciotto live photo us from where we were and transferred us to a place flooded with the light emanating from the verse ‘All people are created equal’ – each word uttered slowly, ceremoniously and with purpose.
Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto are two enlightening human beings who have managed to craft a sound from harsh industrial textures, voices infused with shamanic wisdom, ceremonial rhythms, and a creative approach to traditional instruments. It was all held together with a magic connection between them –an exchange of glances was all they needed to navigate complex rhythmic alterations like skilled explorers in uncharted paths. No stylistic change – from hurdy gurdy to violin to autoharp – caused even the slightest hiccup on the flow of the set nor on that of each song. We saw Danielle master at least three instruments on each track, while Alexander was the lord of an electronic universe, producing hallucinatory sounds by exhausting the possibilities of electric drums, guitar and the sophisticated pedals he used with the dexterity of a magician.

It wasn’t only the variety of instruments that fascinated us all. It was the generosity of two musicians who managed tohackedepicciotto live photo make our minds travel to remote places in Asia and beyond by tracks inspired by these places that they had personally visited. It was also the inspiring and uplifting nature of verses like “I am a river, let me be an ocean”, from the song ‘The Seventh Day’ on their album The Current, that enhanced the cinematic element of their sound, allowing everyone to create very powerful images while each track came to life on stage.
Alexander Hacke live photo Their whole set was a powerful story about places and existential ideas, produced by their desire to create a unique sound that could encompass elements they have embraced and come across during their lives, especially during the last 10 years which they spent as travelling musicians. They connected with us masterfully, both during the set as they explained how each song related to small cities around the world, places that few of us know much about, and after the set when they greetedDanielle de Picciotto live photo people who were keen to share positive words and buy their music.
We listened to most of the band’s latest beautiful album, ‘The Silver Threshold’, a copy of which has made it home with us in vinyl format, alongside songs from ‘The Current’ and ‘Menetekel’, before the band left us with the beautiful instrumental track ‘Grace’ from the album ‘PERSEVERANTIA’.
To which we can only say: dear Alexander and Dannielle, thank you for this unforgettable performance! We hope you continue your travels and that your music becomes even richer in sounds, ideas and emotions.

You can see more photos from this gig here.

Review: Blaue Rosen box

                                                                                                                                                                               Editing: Andrew McKee


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