Our Daily Bread 561: Seaming To, Kerala Dust

February 27, 2023

Double-Bill Of Reviews From Gillian Stone

About the reviewer:: Joining our team this year, Gillian Stone is a multi-instrumentalist and interdisciplinary artist originally from the Pacific Northwest and based in Toronto, Canada. Through her eponymous vocally-driven post-rock/drone folk solo project, she has released two singles, “Bridges” and Shelf, and her debut EP, Spirit Photographs. Stone holds a BFA in Jazz Studies from Vancouver Island University and an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Toronto. Drawing from her eclectic taste, she has worked with Michael Peter Olsen (Zoon, The Hidden Cameras), Timothy Condon and Brad Davis (Fresh Snow, Picastro), The Fern Tips (Beams) Völur (Blood Ceremony), NEXUS (Steve Reich), and visual artist Althea Thauberger.

Seaming To ‘Dust Gatherers’
(O SingAtMe )

Seaming To’s Dust Gatherers, released February 10th via O SingAtMe, is a hauntingly beautiful and otherworldly journey through both hyper-modern and timeless soundscapes. The sound design is wonderfully spacious and manages to be lush and sparse at the same time. While she plays most of the instruments on the record (piano, analog synths, clarinets, and glockenspiel), it’s the London-born, UK-based artist’s voice that drives Dust Gatherers. Throughout the record, Seaming To warbles, whispers, croons, screeches, and sings to a choir of her own voices. There is a theatrical element in her delivery, as her voice depicts unique characters between songs – sometimes evoking 40’s jazz, sometimes musical theatre, sometimes classical. Often the listening experience borders on creepy, like living inside a 90’s-era Dracula-themed video game.

The structure and tracking of Dust Gatherers are utterly brilliant. Instrumental “AnOverture” introduces the juxtaposition of the electronic and symphonic elements the make up the album’s ethos. The next three tracks, “Blessing”, “Tousles”, and “Brave” are imbued with choral synths and swirling vocals. It is not until the fifth track, “Traveller”, that acoustic instruments come back into the fold, with the introduction of Seaming To’s clarinet. Clarinets then mesh beautifully with synths on “Water Flows”, followed by the instrumental synth piece “xenanmax”. The album then takes a left turn into the string-quartet-driven “Hitchhiker”, and pivots again into the Björk-style melodies and microbeats of “Look Away”. The final two songs on Dust Gatherers, which appear to be companion pieces, harken back to the golden era of jazz, finishing the record with a sense of timelessness. Piano ballad “Pleasures are Meaningless” alludes to the final track, jazz standard “Tenderly”, which is tethered down by pulsing clarinets and synth glitches. Ever present are Seaming To’s profoundly strong character vocals, which evoke goosebumps at every turn.

Kerala Dust ‘Violet Drive‘ 

Kerala Dust’s Violet Drive is quite the genre mashup. The disparate textures created by Edmund Kenny (vocals and electronics), Harvey Grant (keys), and Lawrence Howarth (guitar) shouldn’t work, but they do. Like something from Factory Records’ Haçienda-era, Violet Drive can be described as Tom Waits at a rave – like Rain Dogs remixed through the lens of progressive trance. Built above the driving and droning foundation of the record are Howarth’s Marc Ribot-style guitar parts and Kenny’s crooning, sultry, Lou Reed-inspired vocals. Formed in London, based between Berlin and Zurich, and working out of their studio in Berlin, the eclectic three-piece recorded Violet Drive in the Alps over two weeks. The album “draws heavily on European culture torn between the past and future” and is partially inspired by the history and architecture of Berlin. Perhaps the best representation of this is the sixth track on the record, “Salt”. With its droning world textures, hand claps, and melancholy vocals, the song could be an archive of the city –  of its complexity, its people, its transience, and of its space and place in the European imagination.


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