Release Date: 21/09/2018
“What species is this? What century?” 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. 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.
As its sole creator, Gazelle Twin “The Composer, Musician and Producer” 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.
In its consummation it is an album that feels pan-century, even pan-species. Set against a verdant backdrop of hedgerows and steeples, Gazelle Twin “The Artist and Performer”, constructs an eccentric and commanding visual embodiment of all-of-the-above - a costume fit for a court Jester of the 21st Century.
The colours of Neo-Nationalism. Coke cans, and DANGER. “It” (not “she”) hints at folkloric traditions with a footy mascot twist. The “Ye Olde” and “The Everyman” of the English cliché. Brandishing a sneer and a hobby horse. A riddle and a recorder. A jeer and a square dance in red, Adidas Gazelle’s, and a mad, fixed GRIN - first glimpsed in the single, ‘Hobby Horse’ (22 June, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray). A deranged, absurd reflection of deranged and absurd times.
“Bound to shake your walls and rattle your windows”
Max Reinhardt, BBC RADIO 3
"The first bit of evidence that Elizabeth Bernholz's next album Pastoral - due out in September - could be her best to date".
"Will likely be one of the year’s very best records.”
2. Better In My Day
3. Little Lambs
4. Old Thorn
5. Dieu Et Mon Droit
9. Tea Rooms
11. Dance Of The Peddlers
12. Hobby Horse
13. Sunny Stories
14. Over The Hills