Label: Important Records
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After last year’s Black Clouds Above The Bows, Amsterdam-based collective Wanderwelle presents the second entry of their trilogy for Important Records, which is dedicated to telling the story of the climate crisis and its effects on coastal areas around the globe. For this album the artists incorporated the sound of a dying organ.
All Hands Bury The Cliffs At Sea consists of electro-acoustic threnodies for an environment at risk due to the effects caused by receding coastlines around the globe. Wailing odes tell the story of the catastrophic activity of eroding waves and winds shaping the land that are enhanced by the climate crisis. First hand experiences and meetings with local maritime experts on the subject of these receding coastlines inspired Wanderwelle to compose these albums. During their travels, the artists stumbled upon a small church in a town on the east coast of Scotland. The building was quite damaged, the roof was being stabilized and the ancient walls showed great tears running vertically down the structure. One of the church’s volunteers told Wanderwelle that the damage had been caused by a nearby cliff that collapsed in the sea. An event increasingly common in the region. The church organ was ruined in such a way that it was deemed unplayable, as most of the pipes were gravely damaged and in dire need of restoration. Musical instruments directly affected by the environment -and especially the climate crisis- are quite rare. Despite the damage, the artists were allowed to record a few tones of the instrument with their equipment, which was actually meant to be used for field recordings later that day.
In Black Clouds Above The Bows, antique cavalry trumpets were recorded and manipulated by Wanderwelle to sound an environmental alarm in the same manner as they were once used to warn men on the battlefield. Similar processing was used on the recordings of the dying organ, resulting in spectral, deconstructed tones beyond recognition. In addition to the damaged organ, the artists recorded piano, cello and harmonic additive synthesizers in later stages of the composition process, manipulating these sounds to mimic the perpetual activity of the sea shaping the land. Furthermore, a great deal of inspiration was found in maritime superstition, lore and mythology. As told in the legend of Aspidochelone, a legendary sea creature of enormous size, was once mistaken for an island. After sailors docked and lit a fire, the beast submerged resembling a land mass sliding into the sea. The album’s title is derived from the saying ‘All Hands Bury The Dead’, a maritime burial phrase, as the duo likes to think ‘All Hands’ refers to all of mankind, since we are all responsible for these impending catastrophes.