Last months vinyl from ‘That Special Record’ was ‘Songs From The Otherside of Emptiness’ by ‘Life Garden’ who were formed in 1989 from the ashes of Maybe Mental whose two core members were David and Su Ling Oliphant. They invited poet George Dillon to the group, but tragically he passed away by the time they released their debut “Caught Between the Tapestry of Silence and Beauty” (1991). Subsequently, Life Garden added Peter Ragan and Bill Yanok, who eventually departed in 1995. Life Garden broke up in 1999.
I had to look the above up as I had no idea, which is usual. The music is breathy, spectral 80’s electronic experimentation, probably post-industrial if it must be categorised and the album is a compilation of releases between 1991 and 1994 from the albums
Following the passing of George Dillon the band began to shift from using synths and samplers to an all acoustic approach. Over several months, Su Ling and David developed a unique improvisational style using digital multi-effects and loopers to process Su’s vocals and a variety of percussion, string and wind instruments. This became the foundation of the Life Garden sound and forms the majority of tracks on the LP. It also comes with a 7″ single, which I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet, mostly because I haven’t had a chance to listen to very much of anything lately but also because the switch from 33 1/3 to 45 requires the adjusting of the drive belt, which is a pain. In hindsight I should have picked up a turntable with a switch for that, as I end up playing a load of 45’s & 12″ singles together, or a load of albums, and some of the albums are 45 rpm and some of the 12″ singles are 33 1/3, it’s just a bit restrictive. I actually listened to a PJ Harvey album at 33 1/3 and quite liked it, even though it all sounded rather depressing, it was much better at the correct speed.
I was quite surprised by this album when I finally managed to find the time to play it. It didn’t sound to me as though the music was 25 years old, perhaps because it has a timeless quality to it. I’ve included track 4 below, “I Comeforth By Day Singing”, which is a favourite of mine already from this album. In it I can hear elements of Dead Can Dance, A touch of Cocteau Twins overlayed with sense of adhan, the Islamic call to worship.
|A4||I Comeforth By Day Singing|
This was a great pick by ‘That Special Record‘ I think as it is new to me, interesting and opens up new avenues for me to explore. I also really like it, which is the most important thing.