Boomkat Product Review:
Recorded at Pie Corner between September 2014 and May 2016, the eponymously titled debut album from Dead Light is a tender, ambient exploration of hope, escape, tension and isolation.
"Rooted in traditional instrumentation and a handmade approach to effects and synthesis, Dead Light’s music draws upon classical, ambient, pop and electro-acoustic influences. Waves of melancholy stretch through every track, with slow yet expressive melodies that sing from tape-looped cello motifs and an old close-mic’d piano that Anna’s grandfather gave her, yet the feeling of hope never seems to be far away. Distant and reflective yet intimate and emotive, Dead Light’s sound is characterised by a plethora of analogue artefacts ranging from tape delays (via daisy chained reel to reel machines), homemade synthesisers, old Russian microphones and 1950s tube pre-amps, as well as contact mics and hydrophones. Elements of their textured sound can be attributed to their experimentation with treated tape (warped in various ways via prolonged exposure to sunlight, vinegar solutions, microwaves and washing machines), hydrophones (placed in ice trays and allowed to freeze and thaw) and most noticeably, piano preparations (hand-muting strings, screwdrivers, coins, felt, using the soundboard as a plate reverb, etc). Other experimental techniques can be found in ‘Sleeper’, for example, which utilises the layering of looped and treated voice, or in ‘Broods And Waits’ which uses experimental timbres of stringed instruments and drone-like backdrops.
‘Falling In’, the first track they wrote after their escape from London, is a great example of their sound, involving the textural exploration of Anna’s old piano coupled with Ed’s emotive tape treatments and loops. 11 tracks in total, the ‘Dead Light’ album is an exploration of ambivalence, a sonic ethnography that contemplates a personal narrative of transition and identity. Joining the likes of Matt Dunkley, Ben Chatwin and John Matthias, Dead Light’s first album is released on the London-based Village Green label."