Queen of Golden Dogs -the third album from Vessel- was conceived, developed and rendered into life over eighteen months of solitude in rural Wales. In essence, it is an exploration of living a life devoted to uncertainty, curiosity and change.
Influenced by a range of writers, the painter Remedios Varo, and a new love, the album is a marked departure from Vessel’s previous work. The world of QoGD is saturated with colour; oscillating between grief, bombast and fierce joy, this is music shot through with both sincerity and irreverence.
Whilst traces of his sonic signature remain, there is much changed since Vessel’s second album, Punish, Honey. An infatuation with chamber music brought about in collaboration with his violinist lover, and a voice given by singer Olivia Chaney leave strong impressions, providing landmarks in a world that is essentially about the joys of difference.
‘Fantasma’, a prologue of sorts, careens from bent cello to blunt force percussion and billowing synthesisers, dispersing into the harmonically restless lament of ‘Good Animal’, providing the album with the first of it’s many purposefully uncomfortable segues. Ideas of transformation are regularly explored internally within individual pieces, as well as across the album as a whole, dominated by unpredictable shifts in tone. The probing string swells of ‘Argo’ give way to throbbing bass and slippery rhythms, which twist briefly into an almostpop leaning chorus before a barrage of fuzzy drums lead to one of the albums most straightforwardly techno moments. The layered voices of ‘Torno-me eles e nau-eu’ offer the most overt example of Vessel’s move towards classical forms. Using chromaticism, dissonance and sweetness, he explores a space that seemingly refuses to resolve, although eventually revealing itself as an extended reflection of album centrepiece, ‘Paplu’.
"I wanted to make this work to realise experiences that I thought I had already had. Quite quickly I realised that I was reaching too far; and because I wanted so much more I had to give more. I often think that the writing was mutual." - Vessel
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This project really needs to be experienced live, where it’s like some twisted AI trying to rape your brain through your senses. So intense, alien and hostile. I won’t even describe the thoughts left in my head after their late night performance @ Berlin Atonal 2019. Definitely one of the highlights there. Hitting the Pavement