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- MAAR by Sewer Election and Leda
8/10 Ant Staff review, 23 February 2017
To inspire this work, the label presented Dan Johansson and Sofie Herner (aka Sewer Election and Leda), with Giorgio Sommer’s iconic photograph of a cast of a dog killed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii. It’s a remarkable image with striking parallels to the ouroboros - the ancient symbol depicting a serpent /dragon eating its own tail -- which represents the infinite cycle of nature's creation and destruction, life and death. I really like this idea that Swedish label B.A.A.D.M. are creating a starting point for the artists to work from - within their wonderfully selected parameters the possibilities for the artists to explore are practically infinite.
Derived from the image are two side long pieces that refer to each other, and utilise organ, field recordings, electronics, guitar, voice and tapes. The first side begins with a high frequency drone that seems to reach out into a macrocosm while more intimate sounds give the feeling of being in the recording space alongside the artists. Unfortunately I’m not a Swedish language speaker so I’ve no idea what the beautiful spoken words of Sofia mean… then she seems to be cut short by the sound of bad men entering the room with swords! Her vocal remerges with mournful guitar as though speaking from a place beyond this life. Was she slain? From here things play out with lovely, if slightly unsettling ambient and field recordings.
The second side begins with the same drone as the first side - the two pieces apparently having no beginning or end. Then things become darker, as though we’re plunged into a black liquid before more haunted vocals and all manner of creepy, beautiful sounds and drones interplay.
The record a wonderfully graceful, otherworldly pace that’s intoxicating throughout and feels like a real peek behind the curtain.
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