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Black Clouds Above The Bows

by Wanderwelle

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Jonah 04:57
Dead Calm 05:00
Penance 04:09


“Exquisitely poised, hallucinatory chamber minimalism by Dutch duo Wanderwelle, a new name to us, and one naturally up to scratch with Important’s exacting standards.” Boomkat

"A wildly successful release in terms of form and content...." The Vinyl District

The Amsterdam-based collective Wanderwelle presents the first entry of their trilogy for Imprec, dedicated to telling the story of the climate crisis and its effects on coastal areas around the globe.

Black Clouds Above The Bows consists of electro-acoustic threnodies for an environment at risk. Wailing odes express and examine the destructive activity of intensifying storm systems that are enhanced by the climate crisis. First-hand experiences with coastal damage and meetings with local maritime experts on the subject inspired the artists to compose this album.

Antique cavalry trumpets are playing a central role in the album. The instruments, recorded and manipulated by Wanderwelle, sound an environmental alarm in the same manner as they were once used to warn men on the battlefield. After more than a century of silence, they are once again fulfilling their purpose. Starting out as menacing tones, the brass progresses into blaring noises and gets more aggressive as the album continues, resulting in a cacophony across a tumultuous sea. With digital alterations, the natural trumpets were used beyond the range of the harmonic series and their original pitch.

Furthermore, their bright timbre is reminiscent of the songs of the sirens in Greek mythology, whose bewitching tones lured ancient mariners to their doom. A fitting analogy for our lack of modern leadership and march towards ecological catastrophes.

A great deal of inspiration was found in maritime superstition and the vast number of bad omens. For ages, these ill signs are known to have preceded the demise of seamen. This theme felt equally suited to the current environmental disasters and the larger crises yet to come; the writing’s on the wall. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s major poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, served as further inspiration for the bleak mood of the album.

Transmuting the original characteristics of acoustic instruments is a recurring technique used in the making of the trilogy. The sounds generated by these processes are combined with recorded electronics and archival recordings. Later this year, ‘All Hands Bury The Cliffs At Sea’, the second part of their trilogy, will be released on vinyl. The concluding part is currently nearing completion.


released June 6, 2022

Composed, recorded and performed by J.P.A. van Dulm & A.G.A. Bartels
Mastered by James Plotkin
Graphic design by Wanderwelle
Important Records 20022


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