Dead Light is a new project from pianist Anna Rose Carter and composer/producer Ed Hamilton which came into being after they moved from London to a remote space in the English countryside. Their eponymous debut has been released by Village Green, a record the label calls a “sonic ethnography that contemplates a personal narrative of transition and identity”, an apt summation of the artists’ own description.
“The migration out of the sprawling metropolis to their new rural refuge was a transition that significantly impacted them both; the reality of this new setting an apposition between the serene nature of their new life, and the dislocation from the lives, people and places that they left behind; two conflicting sentiments that co-exist in a somehow beautiful, bitter-sweet relationship. Dead Light is the tension between these two states, a textured and imperfect dream world.” – http://www.dead-light.com
Delve a little further into social media posts and interviews and it becomes evident these eleven tracks were developed with an experimental and improvisational spirit, but the pair have calibrated the balance between its dualities of sound and mood exquisitely to create something quite special and completely beguiling. The musical core of the record is composed of Carter’s alternately delicate and vibrant piano motifs along with guest contributions on violin, cello & voice which is then subject to Hamilton’s tender ministrations using tape machines, homemade synthesizers, and hydrophones.
No matter the degree to which the sounds are filtered, stressed, stretched, submerged, or ensconced, a translucency is maintained that always allows the eloquence of the compositional framework to shine through. Carter’s piano is particularly fetching on pieces like “Falling In” and “Trills’ where she plays with all the mesmeric cadence of rainfall while the embellished chamber ensemble swells to surprising emotional power on songs such as “Slow, Slowly”, “The Ballad of a Small Player,”, “Broods and Waits”, and “Pale Fire”. In every case the studio treatments and textural elements simply meld concordantly and coalesce with the music in a single, sophisticated pastiche. Ambiguity never sounded so beautiful.
Dead Light is available from Village Green on vinyl LP and CD via Norman Records, Bookmat, and Rough Trade as well as through digital outlets like iTunes, Amazon, & Spotify. Ordering information can be found at the links below.