Thursday 13 July 2017, 7.30pm
Daniel O'Sullivan (of Grumbling Fur, This Is Not This Heat, Ulver, Æthenor, Laniakea, Mothlite and others) celebrates the release of his new solo album VELD on Tim Burgess' O Genesis label with a live ensemble.
DOS collages a wide range of musical disciplines from avant-pop to free-form improvisation to extended drone and electric chamber music. He has collaborated with a number of artists including several live performances and recordings with 'continuous music' pioneer Charlemagne Palestine and large scale surround sound/AV installations with Turner prize-nominee Mark Titchner. As well as playing with Norwegian experimental group Ulver and occasionally donning the robe with Sunn O))), O'Sullivan has been at the core of the wildly successful This Heat reconstitution as a live entity, who first set sail with two spellbinding nights at Cafe Oto last year.
Whether solo or in his varied collaborative projects, O’Sullivan’s work is remarkable in the way it infuses familiar everyday experience with traces of the uncanny, the secret and the magickal. VELD distils these tangled realities into a wonderfully rich and complex record — one of O’Sullivan’s most immediate and moving pop albums to date, yet one that's strikingly dense and allusive, alive with enticing sonic diversions, hypnotic mantras and eerie biomechanical rhythms.
VELD was written and recorded between 2010 and 2016 while O’Sullivan was living on Tower Gardens Road, during the same phase that also nurtured other collaborative projects including Grumbling Fur (with Alexander Tucker) and Laniakea (with Zu’s Massimo Pupillo). This was also the space where O’Sullivan assembled and arranged Ulver’s 12th studio album ATGCLVLSSCAP and the last two Æthenor LP’s (O’Sullivan’s “automatic composition” group with Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) and Steve Noble). The house was a kind of parallel world, an oasis of the strange and the mystical in suburban North London belonging to Ian Johnstone (artist, permaculturalist and muse of the late Jhonn Balance of seminal English experimentalists Coil), who passed away in 2015. The album is dedicated to Ian and his home who was a friend, inspiration and grounding space over the years.
While distinctly a solo-led record, VELD is animated by the same roaming, impulsive compositional spirit as his collaborative work. While grounded in pop music — which O’Sullivan describes as the ideal vessel for channelling more celestial energies — its dreamlike soundworld draws inspiration from across both natural and human landscapes. Its influences range from Ray Bradbury (whose story ‘Veldt’ inspired the album’s title) and Gurdjieff to Borges and Anais Nin; St. John’s Wort and Psylocybin to Tottenham Cemetery and Streatham Common; Cocteau Twins and Judee Sill to Alice Coltrane and Tony Conrad.
Paper Dollhouse began in 2010 as a side-project of Rayographs‘ Astrud Steehouder to experiment with music production. While Astrud recorded in the kitchen and garden Nina Bosnic made projections creating a home theatre of image and incidental sound. These recordings became the glacial, night-time folk debut A Box Painted Black on Jane Weaver‘s Bird Records. Following a split release with fellow Bird artist Magpahi on the esteemed Folklore Tapes imprint, collaborations with Old Apparatus and techno remixes by AnD and Joe Cocherell on Resilience, they unearthed the post-punk rooted electronica album Aeonflower on Night School and Bird/Finders Keepers in 2015. Following a headline performance at Sounds From the Other City and a slot at Festival No. 6 the duo showcased a highly immersive AV-live show in London employing UV light, helium and neon balloons to coincide with the release of the Plutonic Rainbows EP. They subsequently released a series of sold-out limited cassettes of electronic and archival work on their own MoonDome label. They will be releasing their third album produced by Asher Levitas (Old Apparatus/ Planet Mu) on MoonDome later this year. Asher Levitas will be joining Paper Dollhouse for this performance.
Astrud will also be playing in Daniel O'Sullivan's live group for the VELD launch.