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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Album Review: Gazelle Twin – The Entire City

An astonishing debut album from Brighton based musician Elizabeth Walling. The download version came out on 11th July 2011, but you can catch the official launch performance on 1st September at The Islington Metal Works: not to be missed!

Written by Amelia Gregory

Gazelle Twin - Polaroid

Gazelle Twin‘s debut album opens with the threatening bass horns of new single The Entire City, and straight away the mood is set for what is to come. Singer Elizabeth Walling‘s coos clatter in just before the kicking drums. but there are no lyrics and the atmosphere is heavy and pounding, not for the fainthearted.

Gazelle Twin The Entire City

Concrete Mother starts more softly, meandering undulations back whispering sighs before vocals kick in. ‘She’ll teach me love…‘ Then comes upcoming single Men Like Gods, which features Elizabeth’s tremulous voice at the forefront. What at first makes sense becomes more and more vague: tantalisingly mysterious. The back beat emulates the disjointed foot steps of the Sardinian mummers in the video. I am Shell I am Bone twists the beats against angelic vocals ‘Made of concrete, made of gold. I am young and I am old…

Gazelle Twin by Sophia O'Connor
Men Like Gods, Gazelle Twin by Sophia O’Connor.

One of my very favourite tracks is Changelings – the first that brought Gazelle Twin to my attention at the end of last year…. and it’s an ideal introduction to this most unique of talents. Bell Tower starts as its name suggests, but the bells are muffled, as if heard from far away or behind layers of padding, under water. Again the angelic notes back the mournful questionings… it’s hard to understand the lyrics, but as with the whole album it’s the atmosphere that is important – the song building confidence and momentum through sound.

Gazelle Twin by Lea Rimoux
Gazelle Twin by Lea Rimoux.

Fear is driven out in When I Was Otherwise: confident vocals sit astride the infrequent bass squelches. Obelisk begins with beats battering back and forth as if on a ping pong table, but a melody ‘waking up from a deep sleep we don’t owe ourselves‘ soon takes over, curling around and engulfing the beat. Then we are straight into Far From Home, a small interlude that features cascading Madrigal-esque vocal harmonies, a nod to Elizabeth’s classical inspirations.

Gazelle Twin - The Entire City

Nest again starts low, deep, muted before the song begins. It’s perhaps the most ‘normal’ of the songs on The Entire City, a simple tune taking pride of place, and a chance for Elizabeth to show of crystal clear vocals… ‘When it’s too late… will we ever learn?

Gazelle Twin by Nicola Ellen
Gazelle Twin by Nicola Ellen. Read her mini review of the album here.

The quivering notes of Fight or Flight only last a minute, drifting off into the ether, and then we’re on to the final track, View of a Mountain. Here the synth reigns queen against the clattering background.

Gazelle Twin The entire city

Think of Gazelle Twin as a folky female Aphex Twin, a mysterious little sister of The Knife, choral madrigals for our uncertain 21st century, something utterly unique and very very exciting. The official album launch is on 1st September at The Islington Metal Works and I for one will be there.

gazelle_twin by gaarte
Gazelle Twin by Gaarte.

Elizabeth Walling eschews the controlled machinations of the music machine: with an image carefully crafted to mystify, to hide, to enhance the sound rather than her body as most female musicians do. This is music as performance, as art and as something all engulfing… but equally at home listened to on your desktop. Since I was sent the album The Entire City has never been far from my itunes playlist. I suggest you download it too: it came out on digital download on 11th July. And then see her live.

Gazelle Twin - The Entire City Gazelle Twin - The Entire City

Make sure you read my previous interview with Elizabeth Walling of Gazelle Twin to find out more. There is another very good review of The Entire City on Drowned in Sound.

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