Album Reviews

Divide And Dissolve: Gas Lit – “a collage of jarring, restless uproar”

The Melbourne-based duo get heavy on their third and finest outing yet.

Melbourne-based Divide And Dissolve (Takiaya Reed – saxophone, guitar, live effects, and Sylvie Nehill – drums, live effects) showcase a sonic framework that’s not been heard from Australian shores in quite some time.

Mixing anxious neo-classical elements with splintering spells of noise-rock, these aggressive textures have been largely dormant in this part of the world over the last decade or so.

Divide And Dissolve have picked up the slack, though, dispensing these esoteric slabs of noise since their debut album, 2017’s Basic. With Gas Lit, the duo’s third album, they reaffirm that unbridled aggression in what is arguably their heaviest offering yet.

Reed (of Chereokee descent) and Nehill (of Māori descent) draw inspiration from their Indigeneity and their ancestors and with the themes of decolonisation and white supremacy, the nucleolus of Gas Lit is set.

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In the lead-up to Gas Lit, the band spoke of their ideas, stating, “Sometimes we don’t need to talk in order for others to understand what’s going on. We are also communicating with our ancestors through the music. Our ancestors help us to communicate with each other on a deeper level as well. This deep connection is able to be achieved without words.”

With fuel to burn, on Gas Lit, Divide And Dissolve creates a tapestry that contains bowel-twitching noise, rumbling feedback and hostile saxophone. They’ve bastardised the notion of classical composition through the grimy corridors of punk.

Divide And Dissolve - Gas Lit

Produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s Ruban Neilson, Gas Lit starts with Oblique, providing the listener with a good idea of what’s to follow. Reed‘s discordant saxophone and Nehill‘s aggro drum assault begins this journey through a labyrinth of uncertainty for the next half-and-hour.

While largely instrumental, the duo welcome Minori Sanchez-Fung who guests on Did You Have Something To Do With It – a stirring spoken-word piece that ties together Gas Lit.

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The minimal classical shifts during Mental Gymnastics and We Are Really Worried About You both provide a nice contrast to the likes of Prove It, Denial and Far From Ideal. Songs that are drenched in low-end distortion, leaning on the origins of ’80s noise-rock.

Gas Lit is the kind of record that needs to be consumed as just that. No snippets, no dipping in and out. To understand its true urgency, it’s a front-to-back concern in every sense. Each composition bleeds into the next, forming a collage of jarring, restless uproar.

While the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor have alluded to similar themes in the past, it’s not really the point to compare and dissect. We need more music like this that asks the hard questions and with Gas Lit, Divide And Dissolve project a bleak, burning intensity in what is their finest offering yet.

Gas Lit is out now via Invada Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

11 replies on “Divide And Dissolve: Gas Lit – “a collage of jarring, restless uproar””

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