Critical Heights presents an evening of pastoral psychedelia, ancient synth drone and waves of fuzz with Deadrat Orchestra, improvising duo Delphic Vapours and the shadowy group Savaging Spires.
This music belongs somewhere. Late summer afternoons, English pre-twilight and the old house that could do with some work. You walk along the edge of the lake and catch the scent of jasmine. The voices are still out there, all these years later, singing something you remember.
Savaging Spires (and their true identity is still somewhat shadowy) have created a world of sound where old ghosts can walk freely through these sunny grounds and impart equal doses of dread and joy. Take opener ‘Bending the Rules of Time’ which immediately transports us with whistles, strings and those soon-to-be-familiar choral vocals. A kind of work song for the dead, it is a brief and wonderfully melodic songdream. In fact none of these pieces outstay their welcome, allowing us to feel as though we just happened to grasp them for a moment: music at once spontaneous and eternal.
In a break from the acoustics, ‘Trust’ employs stuttering feedback worthy of Washing Machine-era Sonic Youth before collapsing into hazy music box melancholy. ‘Crows’ allows the mood to darken further with a repeated entreaty for the subject to "wake up". It sounds like a wake outside the caravan and beneath the stars. It is left to ‘Seconds In Motion’ to close the record with a gentle reverie of harmonica and slide guitar. Another, until now hidden, continent creeps into view for a moment and we sense possibilities beyond these gentle haunted lawns. But that’s for another time, insofar as Savaging Spires pay attention to such constraints. For now we have one of the most evocative records you’re likely to hear this year.
Savaging Spires – Seconds In Motion by criticalheights
1. Bending The Rules Of Time
2. When The Devil Says He’s Dead
5. Photographic Memory
6. Apostrophe Lake
9. Cemetery Lounge
12. Seconds In Motion
Dead Rat Orchestra + Delphic Vapours + Savaging Spires
Saturday 24th September 24th – Cafe Oto, London
doors: 8pm / tickets: £5 advance / £6 on the door