Our Throats, Like Valleys

by Gorges

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about

"Our throats, like valleys" was a 60-minute cassette and the product of a series of exploratory improvisations with dual harmonium drones, cacophonous trombone and horn blasts and soaring, wordless vocals made between April and December 2012.

Recorded entirely on the bottom floor of an abandoned underground car park a stone's throw from the North Atlantic ocean, the project came about from the simple desire of each member to make drones and sing, to explore the possibilities of the particular instruments and their own voices in that cavernous space. The track titles take inspiration from early 19th century deep-sea explorations which led to the discovery of thousands of new specimens of florae and faunae, disproving the notion of an azoic sea-bed and establishing oceanographic practice. Some of these early expeditions took place in the nearby Galway bay.

The artwork and design of the tape was created by each member of Gorges - the cover art by Brigid Power Ryce, AR logo by David Colohan, and design by Declan Kelly.

"Fantastic release by this Irish trio, including United Bible Studies' David Colohan. It opens with a blast of horns that is a goddamn beautiful thing to hear, then settles down into shifting harmonium drone, female vocals and quiet howling. Like almost everything associated with Ireland's Deserted Village crew, this cassette is possessed of a magical quality - as transcendent and warm as it is outright odd."
- Byron Coley, The Wire January '14

"More crazy acoustic drone badassery, this time from Gorges. Released by Abandon Reason on limited orange tape, it sounds like an avant-jazz trio jamming with a drone act in the best possible way. The darker moments (made even darker by the natural reverb of the derelict underground car park they recorded in) offsets the pretty drones and it makes for engaging listening. Recommended."
- ReposeSound.com

"Our Throats, Like Valleys opens in grandiose fashion, with the pealing of primal war horns echoing and battling each other for dominance. What sounds like armies meeting on a vast plain is in fact three musicians recording in an underground car park on Ireland's Atlantic coast. The car park itself is the site at the centre of I'm In The Abyss, a compilation of performances recorded there by some of the country's finest underground musicians and released as the first emission from Declan Kelly's new Abandon Reason record label. (Previously reviewed in the last Rum Music here.)

Our Throats, Like Valleys is the second release on the label and here Kelly is joined by Brigid Power Ryce and David Colohan. Once the horns have faded, Gorges slide into into deeper, more ruminative sonics, with Power Ryce's wordless vocals keening over a blend of dual harmonium drones. Half way through the first side, silence approaches as the barest hint of a trembling dirge remains before it ceases completely and the horns return to pick up the pieces. Here is where the car park's reverberant space becomes key as the horns are more distant now, more echo than direct sound, straining against the bare concrete surfaces on all sides. They fade again and exploratory whistles are sounded in the distance, moving about and searching for a melody that ultimately eludes them. Waves of discordant harmonium rise again too, lapping up in a slow crescendo until they too recede. The writings of C Wyville Thomson, detailing the findings of the voyages of HMS Lightning and HMS Porcupine, are a stated influence on this recording and nowhere is that more evident than in the closing half of the first side.

The underwater feeling remains potent on the second side, which sees the same sounds explored again but twisted into new shapes. It is more distended and oblique than the opening half hour, at least until 'We Sink To Rise', when Power Ryce's voice begins to soar and swoop high above the droning harmoniums. It ends with a moment of restrained, stumbled-upon beauty, the tones briefly coalescing into harmony before fading away. After an hour spent in the dark of the ocean floor, a hint of sunlight is more than welcome."
- Ian Maleney , TheQuietus.com July '13

"Just as you think you have heard it all, this happens. Recorded at the bottom of a disused underground car park in Galway, it starts with an unholy cacophony of horns like John Zorn hijacking a brass band before giving way to two harmoniums and a singer. The harmoniums drone around each other beautifully. Meanwhile, Brigid Power Ryce sings wordlessly with a powerful voice, a conduit without language for the building, just like the harmonium players.
The only other album I Know based so heavily on harmonium and voice is Current 93's 'Now Sleep Has His Home' but that is an album of mourning.
This by contrast , is an album in awe of its surrounds. The sea slowly seeps into the car park and touches everything on here. The sound, the mood, the acoustics are all incredible for this wild, powerful hymn of the sea."
- WasIstDas.co.uk

credits

released May 2, 2015

Brigid Power Ryce - Harmonium, voice, toy horn
David Colohan - Harmonium, voice, trombone, nefar
Declan Kelly - Harmonium, voice, nefar, toy horn

Recorded entirely at the bottom of the disused underground car park in Salthill, Galway between April and December 2012.

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David Colohan Ireland

'An eerie loveliness that should really be soundtracking a Werner Herzog film; indeed Popol Vuh’s work provides a useful reference point for Raising Holy Sparks as, similar to Vuh, the music herein is almost religious in its solemnity and grace.' The Active Listener ... more

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