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VANISHING TWIN

Vanishing Twin

Ookii Gekkou

    There’s a mystery to Vanishing Twin – from their name to the multitude of sounds that inhabit their music. They don’t sound like many but they hint at plenty. ‘Ookii Gekkou’ (Japanese for Big Moonlight) is the sound of ordinary life under a different set of rules, a record conceived and created in dark times – a sort of dream catcher for all the madness of the past year.

    Vanishing Twin explore new ground on ‘Ookii Gekkou’ incorporating elements of afrofunk, outer jazz and avant-garde, all while referencing Sun Ra to Alice Coltrane, Martin Denny to Morricone, Can’s Holger Czukay to meditative Gamelan, or The Free Design, to library music of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Locked into their strangely-accessible groove is a history of ‘other’ sound, a crafted hauntology that evinces something completely new.

    Hurricanes, organisms, vibes, bells, and percussive rallies purvey throughout ‘Ookii Gekkou’, each infiltrated with influences as diverse as Piero Umiliani, Art Ensemble of Chicago and ELO among others. Indeed, even a cursory earful adds to an ever-expanding palette of sound, no mean feat for the newly-trimmed quartet of songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas, drummer Valentina Magaletti, bassist Susumu Mukai, and synth/guitar player Phil MFU, this reduction resulting in no fewer ideas and even bigger steps. Vanishing Twin is a conundrum in these fragmenting times; familiar, yet different; appealing to this world, but from another, parallel one.

    “A band that fearlessly floats in the hazy space between the real world and an imagined one, blurring the line between warmly nostalgic and eerily haunted” Pitchfork.

    “One of the most original and exciting acts of the moment” The Quietus.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Both 'Choose Your Own Adventure' and 'Age Of Immunology' were big hits in the shop, and the superb new one from is sure to go down similarly well, though it further diversifies the psychedelic wooze of both into loungy jazz, avant pop and bright proggy synth. It's a wonderful progression and a superb, typically brilliant listen.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    A1 Big Moonlight (Ookii Gekkou)
    A2 Phase One Million
    A3 Zuum
    A4 The Organism

    Side B
    B1 In Cucina
    B2 Wider Than Itself
    B3 Light Vessel
    B4 Tub Erupt
    B5 The Lift

    'Vanishing Twin is songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas, drummer Valentina Magaletti, bassist Susumu Mukai, synth/guitar player Phil MFU and visual artist/film maker Elliott Arndt on flute and percussion; and on this album they have made their first artistic statement for the ages. Some of its great power comes from liberation. The album was produced by Lucas in a number of non-standard, non-studio settings. ‘KRK (At Home In Strange Places)’ summons up the spirit of Sun Ra’s Lanquidity and Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio was simply recorded on an iPhone during a live set which crackled with psychic connectivity on the Croatian island of Krk. The magical Morricone-esque lounge of ‘You Are Not an Island’, the blissed-out Jean-Claude Vannier style arrangement of ‘Invisible World’ and burbling sci fi funk ode to a 1972 cult French animation, ‘Planète Sauvage’, were all recorded in nighttime sessions in an abandoned mill in Sudbury.

    The only two outsiders to work on the recording were ‘6th member’ and engineer Syd Kemp and trusted friend Malcolm Catto, band leader of the spiritual jazz/future funk outfit The Heliocentrics, who mixed seven of the tracks (with Lucas taking care of the other three). Vanishing Twin formed in 2015 - their first LP, Choose Your Own Adventure, which came out on Soundway in 2016; followed by the darker, more abstract, mostly instrumental Dream By Numbers EP in 2017. The band explored their more experimental tendencies on the Magic And Machines tape released by Blank Editions in 2018, an improvised session recorded in the dead of night, offering a glimpse into their practice of deep listening, near band telepathy, and ritually improvised sound making. These sessions formed the basis of The Age Of Immunology.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Emily says: Vanishing Twin have returned this year with a second album of transcendent psychedelic pop. Drawing on far reaching influences in a similar manner to Stereolab, they incorporate elements of krautrock, tropicália and lounge into their expansive soundworld. The comparisons which can be drawn between the two bands are abundant - you can even hear echoes of Lætitia Sadier in Cathy Lucas’ pure, unaffected lead vocals. But the output of Vanishing Twin is not simply derivative. Its members are unique artists in their own right, and their collective sound already bears its own significance.
    Listening to ‘The Age Of Immunology’ feels like drifting off to a strange, mythological world somewhere in the unknown depths of space. Each track glides effortlessly into the next and is steeped in dreamlike imagery. In “KRK (At Home In Strange Places)” Lucas’ vocals weave around a loose, polyrhythmic groove and soaring string arrangements. The acoustic guitar steadily sets the pulse in “You Are Not An Island”, suspended above gently glowing electronics and hints of Reichian minimalism. And “Planète Sauvage” is an ode to the cult animated sci-fi film of the same name, featuring a french spoken word monologue which gives way to cinematic strings and a curious synth-organ solo.
    It seems Vanishing Twin are a group intent on creating music that defies borders and dissolves genre into genre. Perhaps they fit into an alternative definition of “World Music”, with their influences which reach as far around the globe as their combined nationalities - Belgian, Japanese, Italian, French and American. Who knows where their psychedelic voyage will take them next? For now, let’s delight in their twinkling, cosmic splendour.

    TRACK LISTING

    1 KRK (At Home In Strange Places)
    2 Wise Children
    3 Cryonic Suspension May Save Your Life
    4 You Are Not An Island
    5 The Age Of Immunology
    6 Magician’s Success
    7 Planète Sauvage
    8 Backstroke
    9 Invisible World
    10 Language Is A City (Let Me Out!)

    This week sees gruesomely named London ensemble Vanishing Twin release their debut album "Choose Your Own Adventure" via Soundway Records. The band enlisted the help of producer Malcolm Catto (Heliocentrics, DJ Shadow, The Gaslamp Killer) and began work at his London studio, Quatermass Sound Lab, last spring. Recording the basis for eight tracks, they blended structure and improvisation in pop songs that describe a personal mythology through the adventures of Lucas' vanished twin. Formed in 2015, Vanishing Twin came together to make an exploratory record that marries oblique English pop with a palette of arkestral sounds. Having previously released a string of conceptual cassettes under the name Orlando, founder Cathy Lucas (Innerspace Orchestra) named the group after her vanishing twin, an identical sister absorbed in utero, when they were both still a cluster of cells. Drawing on sounds outside of the usual pop vocabulary, the group used forgotten drum machines, home-made electronics, vibraphones, tablas, and harp to invoke the esoteric psychedelia of lost soundtracks, radiophonic experiments and minimal music orchestras. In a studio that Catto built for maximum atmosphere and minimum interfere, and crammed with obscure vintage equipment, he brought his own distinctive sonics to the table, informed by outsider jazz, Italian library music and ethnographic field recordings. Vanishing Twin is made up of singer Cathy Lucas (Fanfarlo, The Oscillation) drummer Valentina Magaletti (Raime, Tomaga, Uuuu, Neon Neon), bassist Susumu Mukai (Zongamin, Floating Points), library music head Phil M.F.U. (Man From Uranus, Broadcast) on strange sounds, and film maker and visual artist Elliott Arndt on flute and percussion. 

    TRACK LISTING

    Vanishing Twin Syndrome
    Telescope
    Floating Heart
    Eggs
    Under The Water
    The Conservation Of Energy
    Choose Your Own Adventure
    Truth Is Boring
    It Sends
    My Heart Into A Spin


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