Boomkat Product Review:
Songs From The Other Side Of Emptiness is a necessary compendium of Life Garden’s multifarious, sui-generis aesthetics, exploring the space left behind after ‘80s post-industrial music ran out of conceptual steam.
Life Garden is the main preserve of David Oliphant and his partner Su Ling, who were previous members of Maybe Mental, a wicked, if overlooked part of the post-industrial milieu, who included Sir Richard Bishop in their number at one point - and with whom David more recently collaborated on the brobdingnagian disc, Beyond All Defects (2012).
Despite only being in operation between for the first five years of the ‘90s, the band released a dozen recordings on CD and cassette, headed up by their debut Caught Between The Tapestry Of Silence & Beauty, and ending on Ahitanaman (1995). Material from both releases appears here, along with further material off the impossible-to-find Worlds Whirl Beneath The Sun (1991) tape, plus the Pry Open My Mouth With The Red Knife of Heaven (1992) and Seed (1993) albums.
While Life Garden’s previous incarnation, Maybe Mental, was a sprawling affair, ranging from delirious post-industrial psychedelia to power electronics, you can hear the roots of their subsequent Life Garden sound in the far eastern fascinations and eerie tones of Lotuses On Fire (1987), especially in its more spectral, loosely improvised drones and ritual percussions.
I’m pretty sure that Su Ling Heydrich-Oliphant just sang uvavoo - Rick Veeves style- on Zhen, so it’s got our approval at the least.