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«Dark Before Dark»
577 RECORDS, 5863

Welsh, London-based writer and filmmaker Iain Sinclair has been fixated on the imaginary 25-year journey of a whalebone box for years. In this spoken word performance with the London Experimental Ensemble, «Dark Before Dark» (based on his book, sub-titled: «A Brief Account of the Curious Properties and Eccentric Travels of a Whalebone Box». With color and black & white photography by Anonymous Bosch.), this personal journey becomes a meta-narrative telling the story of the story, and venturing to vivid, surreal landscapes.

«Dark Before Dark» was published as a limited-edition, 100 volume of 28-pages in 2019 by Tangerine Press, and it follows and adapts material from Sinclair’s book, «Living with Buildings: Walking with Ghosts – On Health and Architecture» (Wellcome, 2018). The album, with extended dialogue and details are written specifically for the performance with the London Experimental Ensemble, was recorded live at Iklectik, London in June 2019. It is a spoken word project with a great focus on sonic detail and the suggestive delivery of Sinclair.

Sinclair’s two parts of this dramatic-poetic 72-minute story about «forgotten stories’» and «knowledge ahead of extinction» are rich with personal and historical facts, insights and details. It accumulates into a mythical parable about our fragile world, our connection to nature and the way we exploit and often ruin the surrounding nature, far larger – literally – than a story about a whalebone box. It warns us not to open the mysterious whalebone box that contains the «light of an apocalypse», and speaks in prophetic biblical terms. «We access landscapes where place becomes time, a hike into history to postpone madness», Sinclair concludes. The unique, chamber-like instrumentation of the London Experimental Ensemble – reeds and brass, strings, piano and electronics and wordless voice – charges the mysterious narrative with unsettling and haunting nuances, all improvised in real-time, imagining «the sound of the world tearing itself apart».

Spellbinding and gripping.

Eyal Hareuveni

John Eyles (s), Tony Hardie-Bick (p, elec), Ken Ikeda (synth), Daniel Kordik (synth), Edward Lucas (tb), Elo Masing (vio), Keisuke Matsui (el.g), N.O. Moore (guitarism), Jordan Muscatello (b), Ed Pettersen (8 string dobro), Emmanuelle Waeckerle (v, amplified wooden fl), Mirei Yazawa (tp), Yifeat Ziv (v), Iain Sinclair (narration) 

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