Divide And Dissolve - Gas Lit review


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Band: Divide And Dissolve
Album: Gas Lit
Release date: January 2021

01. Oblique
02. Prove It
03. Did You Have Something To Do With It
04. Denial
05. Far From Ideal
06. It's Really Complicated
07. Mental Gymnastics
08. We Are Really Worried About You

How does one make instrumental protest music?

You chip in a spoken word poem on one of the tracks obviously. But that's just one track. Divide And Dissolve is an instrumental duo made up of saxophonist/guitarist Takiaya Reed and drummer Sylvie Nehill, who seem to have found a way to communicate without words. Music is obviously an artform that has been used to communicate emotions without the use of words for as long as it has existed. You can generally tell if a song wants you to feel ecstatic, sad, nostalgic, angry or entertained. Gas Lit's emotional baggage is one that feels a bit more transcendental, since I can't really say that it wants you to feel angry. It wants you to feel the injustice and hopelessness of being on the receiving end of colonialism.

Words have been said about the issue, and I don't feel that I can add anything meaningful to the conversation that hasn't been said. But Divide And Dissolve aren't here to talk. They're here to create long-form drones of fuzzy guitar feedback and monolithic trampling drumming interlaced with saxophones and chamber music. It's mostly that "interlaced" part that works wonders on this record. It's not that hard to just get droning feedback noise from a guitar for 30 minutes (though it's probably harder than people assume). What is hard is making said guitar feedback feel emotionally resonant in some way, making it either ominous, transcendental or crushing. The last thing you'd want it to feel is boring. There's some tricks to avoid that.

First: play around with the pace a little bit. The guitars and drums don't really ever go into anything faster than somewhat mid-paced, but there's just enough diversity for the two and in between the two to save face. The riffs can get crunchy, but they can also drone on. Second: make sure that the production enhances the atmosphere. Getting Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Neilson to twist the right knobs makes Die Lit even more potent than it already was. Third: sprinkle some outside elements. And this is the meat of the album's success. Not only does the saxophone add the occasional moment of scorching fury, but the slightly avant-garde chamber classical music that is layered throughout the heavy sludge adds such a welcome contrast whose effect exponentially increases the emotional resonance of the record. I can only imagine how that would work out with an even more ambitious record.

As it is Gas Lit achieved what it wanted to achieve. I feel like I felt what I was intended to feel. It showed that you don't really need words to capture the emotional resonance of the struggle. Whether it would be more effective with words, it's up for debate.


Written on 09.02.2021 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 41 users
10.02.2021 - 22:36
"How does one make instrumental protest music?" - GY!BE. The review makes this band come off as something similar, and the opening track surely is in Godspeed/Wrekmeister territory, should be right up my alley, checking it out in full tonight... Cool find, vivid review, interesting opening question: how indeed, especially without supplementing the music with artwork, liner notes or other descriptions of intent?
14.02.2021 - 20:38
Damn, I forgot to mention this was my 400th review.
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

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