Gazelle Twin & NYX – Deep England (NYX Collective Records) – There’s something very otherly about it, something almost spiritual (actually, there’s no almost about it), English in the very best of ways, old ways, Albion, in touch with the land, the trees, the spirit of people, the heart of it all, a connection almost lost, deep indeed. Special, a purge maybe? A rage? Sometimes it is there in the silence, the space between the sounds, the quietest of bits, the anticipation at the end as you wait for the secret never to be told. Not a less is more because this album this body of work certainly isn’t less. It starts with church bells, of course it does, obviously it does, glory be – “Here lies our ancient future, Deep England: our hope and compassion in the chokehold of power and glory”.
Here be dragons indeed, been waiting for this one, that by now familiar calling of Fire Leap is even more wonderful embedded some eleven minutes in, there, placed just right, just there, perfectly so. Can you tell me where my country lies? Said the uni faun to his true love’s eyes, take the flame inside you, deep Wicker Man, deeper if that were possible. This is an album that almost seems at odds with this island of ours here and now (where violence is run by governments) here in Brexitland and 2021. It almost comes with a feeling of guilt, to love something that is so English, it conflicts here in 2021, music of a place lost, a “Hand in hand, here we cry our rage: summoning a lament into the ether, a divine androgynous force, a transcendental purge of the dizzying chaos of post-truth Britain.”. The hints that Gazelle Twin & NYX had been dropping, the tastes of the album we’ve already been fed, the promises of things to come are all here, it lives up to all the hop and ,ore. This is wonderful.
This is a first listen in the late morning sunshine of March, release day for an album and a body of work much anticipated, a first listen to those bells in the Spring sunshine, the swell, the liberty to take, you won’t see your old home again.
Much better in my day, much better in my day, much better in my day, just look at these kids now, just look, no respect, Much Better in My Day is a challenge, a positive one, a challenge from no, of now, a twist, a defiant one, really? Much better than this? Are you sure? Gazelle Twin could only happen in these days we are living through now, she is right now and this collaboration, an album several years in the making I do believe, is very much right here, right now. Much better in my day? Really, these are music makers right up there selling the best of of England by the pound, this is right now, these are rich musical times, these are rich time for creativity, this is a richly detailed tapestry of creativity, this is art as good as any time.
“Rooted in English pagan and sacred music, Deep England is an electronic-choral expansion of Gazelle Twin’s 2018 album Pastoral (Anti-Ghost Moon Ray). Here, tracks from Pastoral, an album whose political themes have only intensified since its original release, are radically reworked and presented alongside original compositions by NYX, Paul Giovanni and William Blake.”
Disquieting, beautiful, spiritual, warm, in the right hands and the right context Blake’s Jerusalem is always beautiful, none more so than this glorious glorious version, this is an album that says despite all that goes on now there is still a specialness to be found, a spiritualness, it isn’t nationalism or anything as defeating as that, this is a spirit, a pagan spirit of Albion, a deep connection with something that can’t quite be touched, the trees, the land, the stones, with each other, with music, with the moving warmth of this Jerusalem’s choral drone and yes it is almost uncomfortable in these times
And perfectly housed in an illustration by Elisa Seitzinger, illustration inspired by stage designs of Chloe Lamford so it seems. Is it too much to say everything Gazelle Twin involves herself in is wonderful, is it too much (verging on silly) to just turn into a frothing fan, can I put her on a pedestal with the Peters Hammill and Gabriel, a lighthouse keeper as straight as any arrow? Can I froth like that? And what of NYX? “An electronic drone choir and otherworldly electric chorus, re-embodying live electronics and extended vocal techniques. With arrangements and original compositions by choir leader Sian O’Gorman, NYX are reshaping the role of the traditional female choir, testing the limits of organic and synthetic modulation to explore the full spectrum of collective female voice as an instrument”, electronic composition never sounded so warm, are you sure this is electronica?
Have we gone beyond the blasted oak here, is “sacred” too much? Sacred music? Should a review froth like this? Should I keep all this to myself? A proper guilty secret? Take the flame inside, burning burning bright? right here right now, healing broken things, no don’t leave yet, it isn’t all lost – deeply moving, deeply beautiful, the Captain’s Table, the spirit of Webcore or Sea Nymphs, of Emily Peasgood up those steps in Folkestone, of Pentangle and Crass, and things that were much better in my day. This wonderful, this thing will not blow over, contact to switch the other, Deep England, thy will be done. Serene, beautiful, slightly uncomfortable, we’ve done with undercover, much much better than my day. Time goes by, it’s the time of your life, Easy now, sit you down, Chewing through your Wimpey dreams,, They eat without a sound, Digesting England by the pound , insolvent see.
The third truly great album of a still young year, much better in my day? Deep England is a work of wonderfully (uncomfortable) brilliance. There are still good things to be found, and now I must g oand paint, bring on the Spring Equinox, here lies our ancient future,… (sw)