Organ Thing of the Day: Enablers, a band who have featured many times on our pages and airwaves over the years, have a new album, they’ve just released a first taste, here’s what they said, “Our 7th studio album in twenty years of being a band: “Some Gift” will be released on Sep 2, 2022 by Wrongspeed Records. You may find a teaser track here”. And here indeed is that first taste from the new Enablers album. The band have some UK dates as well as European mainland shows this September, updates via their Bandcamp page or their Facebook page. The tour starts in Margate on September 1st, they play the Moth Club here in London on Septenber 7th, Support at the Moth Club comes from the rather beautiful Haress, they share a label with Enablers so they may well be support on all the dates. All the dates so far are on the flyer at the foot of the page…
Here’s some more from Haress and their rather fine album released back in May this year. Ghosts is a beautiful album, a warm album an album that slowly unfolds and unloads, a gently crafted album, a gorgeous album, a simple album. Simple doesn’t mean a lack of musical ambition, there is complexity here, there is considered construction, it just feels simple, it feels natural, it feels right, inviting, The album is there on their Bandcamp. There’s some uncredited background wordery ‘borrowed’ from their page underneath.
“Every band from the 60s & 70s inevitably arrives at a point in their rockumentary where members retire to the middle of nowhere to play to the sheep. Led Zeppelin disappeared to Bron-Yr-Aur, Fairport Convention took over a disused pub called The Angel and – over the ocean – The Band decamped to Big Pink to make their most acclaimed work. Fast-forward to the 21st century and it seems cities are fast becoming unliveable and the reasons we moved to them irrelevant. The punks are turning into hippies and fleeing into the hills, if not to get their heads together then in search of some long-lost autonomy at the very least.
Elizabeth Still and David Hand are, as always, years ahead of the curve. They left Liverpool over a decade ago in search of a new life in the hills of Shropshire. Rather than seeing it as a form of early retirement, they took their creative ambitions with them, inspiring the community they now called home. A series of rural music events culminated in three years of the Sineater Festival where much of what became “New Weird Britain” were forced to abandon their sat-navs and play under the shadow of a huge burning wicker man in a beautiful meadow to what felt like a secret society. Those gatherings suggested a new way of presenting creative endeavours, outside of the machinations of industry and commerce. They were genuinely life-changing. Like I said – the punks were becoming hippies and it was f*cking beautiful (man).
Out of this came Haress. Still and Hand had long been musical collaborators in larger (louder) groups but saw an opportunity to make simpler music at home in the time that bringing up their young daughter would allow. This developed into a language of guitar interplay that is deceptively complex but feels warm, inviting and open to the listener.
Like their music, the couple also made their locale warm and inviting for friends they made along the way and over time their home became a welcome refuge for many of them. As a result, Haress would naturally expand and contract in size depending on who happened to be visiting.
It was on these terms that their debut self-titled album was made (released on their own Lancashire & Somerset Records in 2019), with the core duo joined by David Smyth (Mind Mountain, Kling Klang) on drums, Chris Summerlin (Hey Colossus, Kogumaza) on guitar, Thomas House (Sweet Williams, Charlottefield) on vocals and Nathan Bell (Lungfish, Human Bell) on trumpet – all regular visitors to the Still/Hand family home.
In early 2020 Still, Hand, Smyth and Summerlin travelled to a disused water mill in North Wales for a week to record a follow-up with engineer Phil Booth (JT Soar) and his mobile studio. The stories of what occurred are told on the flexi disc that accompanies the LP but the group’s plans for a relaxing break in the country were scuppered by events that were either highly unusual, or positively supernatural (depending on your own beliefs in such things). Well-made plans were abandoned and the recording was forced to develop according to the location it was being made in. Chance and accident were welcomed as a collaborator rather than a saboteur and the group exited the sessions extremely freaked-out but with the makings of an album.
These recordings were then shaped through the lockdown period, with collaborators House and Bell adding their parts remotely like the unexpected collaborators from the mill – present but not present. It’s fair to say this has not been a straightforward process but the results speak for themselves.
Ghosts is an incredible piece of work and posits Haress on their own when it comes to developing new approaches to traditional musical forms.
The music contains many moments of immediate joy – the relative pop of House’s vocals on White Over, the wild horns of I Think I Think, the rush of warmth as Time To Drink morphs into focus. But it also stretches the sound Haress have carefully developed almost to breaking point with sections of music that feel like somebody – something – else is steering the ship.
The 2 final songs – Litres Into Metres and Sussurus – are joined together by a collage of site-specific sound. It was decided to add the output from a detuned long wave radio to this section on the final night of recording. Static hissed from the device but as soon as the record light illuminated, a rich male baritone voice sang loud and clear from the radio, taking a solo right where it was needed and then disappearing into space forever like the Ghosts of the title”.