ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT
"Darling The Dawn"
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CST171 180gLP • CD • DL
Release date: 21 April 2023
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“A bespoke zone where dark ambient meets the ethereal, and old folk melodies shake hands with This Mortal Coil, its hymnal lullabies slowly tug at the senses, dissonance dissolving into beauty with a pulsing human heart.” - MOJO ★★★★
“Daring yet cohesive with a strong underpinning of darkness and it sounds absolutely massive. Like a score for an Ari Aster movie yet to be made and a perfect listen for those seeking full-body immersion.” - VINYL FACTORY
“Luminous soundscapes that shift across drone, ancestral chant, shoegaze and a forlorn take on sacred music, lent extra otherworldly heft by Engle’s beauteous vocals…a kaleidoscope, cosmically frazzled union of Patti Smith and Spiritualized.” - UNCUT
“Like an archaic invocation, a light kindled in the darkness, drones and folk songs in the face of the approaching apocalypse. One could misunderstand the slowly unfolding, hymn-like songs as a requiem, but the two Canadians are clear about one thing: the dawn is coming for all of us.” - Rolling Stone DE (4.5/5)
“There's both a darkness and a spirituality to their music, which sometimes sounds like a literal cross between Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene, and sometimes sounds like nothing else Efrim and Ariel have ever done.” - BROOKLYN VEGAN
“Reminiscent of the time-traveling glimmer of folk traditionals; an album that was always here, like the sun, yet calling toward the future.” - EXCLAIM (8/10)
“A series of sonic vignettes that ooze with tender emotional force. It’s more of the beautiful noise that Menuck often references, but with Engle delivering one of the stirring performances of the year so far, a new light emerges. A real sense of hope and by the sounds of it, just the start for ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT.” - SUN-13
“A hard-working, droning celestial transmission…reminds us of the infinite possibilities and probabilities that make each sunrise a discrete and ephemeral one-time-only experience.” - DOMINIONATED
ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT is the recently minted duo of Ariel Engle (La Force, Patrick Watson, Broken Social Scene) and Efrim Manuel Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion). Longtime friends, collaborators, and stalwarts of the Montréal post-punk community, this is their first full-fledged project together. On “Darling The Dawn”, ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT weaves two unique voices through lustrous tendrils of blown-out tones and drones, imbued with searing soulful warmth and soaring melodies.
The duo speak about the inspiration behind the record, their work likened to a “dawn” which is coming for us in the real world. “These times are in-between times.” says Efrim Manuel Menuck, “the old things are sinking with their hands around our throat.” But, like they speak of on the record, a brighter world is coming - “there’ll be even more beauty there, during the unravelling, and then even more after the dark times are through.”
The record’s melancholic yet resolute hopefulness shines through in electronic shoegaze suffused with freak-folk, kosmische, darkwave and post-industrial. Flowing from ambient minimalism to pulsing maximalism, conjuring traditionals sung in the haze of earliest light accompanied by overdriven circuit boards which are powered with ungrounded wires.
Above all, it’s the singing and lyrics, in method and melodic delivery, that conjure certain freak-folk furrows. Ariel Engle calls this “music inspired by ancestor music, sea shanties for seas we’ve never sailed”.
The duo have indeed forged a collection on “Darling The Dawn" where vocals often feel strangely rooted in traditionals, while the instrumentation resonates out-of-time, in a liminal space at once glistening, both synthetic and analogue.
As the album title suggests, sleepless anxiety/euphoria and a sense of somatic channelling is vital to these songs: “I mostly kept the first thought I had, like a cold read, I wanted the melodies to be immediate and to surprise me, not a laboured process; it’s about being a weather vane, guided by preconscious impulses” says Engle. For Menuck, the record started “with an idea of making a long thing about ‘THE DAWN’, the different weights of its radiance, the way it kisses our dumb faces when we rise and leave the night behind, the heaviness of that light when you haven’t slept.”
“Darling The Dawn” is an album of preternaturally genre-bending sonics and songwriting, with the lyrics capturing, according to Ariel, “the uncanniness of living on a sphere, the smallness of us in contrast to the size and motion of planets and the comfort of the eternal return of dawn and sun after the night.”
Engle and Menuck see ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT in an idiosyncratic folk lineage traced through the most leftfield of pastures and timeless traditions. While there is no discernable guitar or acoustic instrumentation on the album, off-kilter drone incantations like “A Sparrow’s Lift” and “A Workers’ Graveyard (Poor Eternal)” perhaps sit most overtly within these seams of the skewed-folk substratum. Warm and distorted synths provide the palette, along with signal-processed violin contributions from fellow-traveller Jessica Moss. The resplendent drumming of guest Liam O’Neil (Suuns), accompanies the 10-minute methodical longform centerpieces “We Live On A Fucking Planet And Baby That’s The Sun” and the motorik-driven “The Sons And Daughters Of Poor Eternal”, propelling both tracks to their spiralling peaks.
“Darling The Dawn” captures a wholly compelling collaboration between Engle and Menuck in an album thrumming with alternately tender and serrated beauty as only their combined strengths and sensibilities could conjure. Thanks for listening.
180gram LP pressed at Optimal (Germany) comes in 350gsm Arktika jacket + 300gsm Arktika inner sleeve, printed with LE-UV inks.
Jacket has colour flood inside. Includes download card.
CD comes in custom uncoated paperboard mini-gatefold jacket and printed inner sleeve.
La Colectiva “ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT”
Ariel Engle – Voice
Efrim Manuel Menuck – Noise
Liam O’Neill played drums and Jessica Moss played violins
All of it recorded at Thee Might Hotel2Tango and flooded basement.
Mixed by Jace Lasek and mastered by Harris Newman.
Cardboard sun built by Michele Fiedler Fuentes.