Forged in a rural idyll in Middle-England, the new album Pastoral, by Gazelle Twin, exhumes England’s rotten past, and shines a torch over its ever-darkening present. Out on September 21 on the artist’s own Anti-Ghost Moon Ray label, Gazelle Twin has also announced a series of dates following the recent live premiere at Supersonic festival.
Pastoral is told through a troupe of multi-gender voices, in vernaculars old and new; from the shrill echo of folksong to tabloid-tinged jaunts, the artist aka Elizabeth Bernholz, presents the notion that “there is horror in every idyll, and danger lurking beyond the “quaint” ”. The village square - once host to centuries of public torture - becomes a floral framed postcard, dolled-up for the Summer Fête. A sunny, afternoon walk over the hills unsettles a cloud of angry flies feeding from unidentifiable remains. Bigoted vitriol gently murmurs amidst tearoom chatter, as the neatly framed pastoral picture dissolves into a solemn ennui.
Four years in the making, amidst life-changing events, including a move far out of the city, Pastoral will be the first major release by the artist since her widely acclaimed LP, Unflesh (2014, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray) and is seamlessly on-theme, together with Bernholz’s J.G. Ballard-inspired A/V show, Kingdom Come (soundtrack released November 2017, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray) - a fascism-infused hellscape, this time set in deepest Old England.
Gazelle Twin has crafted an album overflowing with a frenzy of traditional and contemporary musical tropes; from early music instrumentation - the harpsichord and the humble recorder, fed through myriad electronics - to the compelling, ritualistic application of found sample-looping. Beyond Bernholz’s signature choral-infusions, here reverberating like a warped Sunday Service, there are even shades of ‘90s house and the once-thriving rural rave scene, albeit recalled as a watery, second-hand memory.
GAZELLE TWIN LIVE
5 Oct - Soup Kitchen, Manchester UK
11 Oct - Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Brighton UK