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LP $19.50

06/16/2015

LSSN 029 


An exploration of warped, dream-like atmosphere and taught, noise-ingrained electronics, PAPER DOLLHOUSE has evolved from the solo work of ASTRUD STEEHOUDER into an expansive, cinematic project now involving visual artist NINA BOSNIC. Recorded with a stronger focus on electronic processes and with a deeper, light-starved aesthetic, Aeonflower’s emboldened use of crushed-noise dynamics takes the London-based group’s debut A Box Painted Black (2011, Bird/Finders Keepers) frame into darker, murkier and more thrilling territory. Aeonflower is the slow decent of a newly-discorporated spirit into a fogged, neon-lagoon, a drowned world still-lit. If the first LP was a box of raw secrets with hints of obscured folk roots, Aeonflower is the endless rain of expression, experience and change. On this outing both artists’ vocals are expressive, forgoing complex lyrical concerns for minimal text invested with emotive power.   Opener "Oracle" bleeds into Stand, the first of Steehouder’s haunted vocals, a fragile minimalism augmented with barren guitar. "Helios" sees a drum-machine kick + ride cymbal pin down an dark, enveloping vocal duet until "Psyche" obliterates it all with billowing noise, a thrilling shock to the system. The swirling synths and suppressed emotion of "Your Heart" peak in the centerpiece "Diane," a shadowy piece highlighting Steehouder’s minimalist approach. Side 2 acts as a mini-suite, with Diamanda Galas-inspired vocal abstractions and walls of sound coming down with stand out ambient track "Black Flowers." Dark and light interplay beautifully on album closer "Siren," a turbulent if ambiguous build-up of harmony and noise. A cinematic portrayal of an internal hinterland, Aeonflower is a complete, encompassing world.  "Sterling dark pop and stark ambient noise somewhere between Grouper and Vatican Shadow. Edition of 500 with tracing paper insert and download code** There's some genuinely dark magick at work in Paper Dollhouse's debut LP for Glasgow's Night School Records. The London-based duo of Nina Bosnic and Astrud Steehouder are in possession/possessed by a gothic, oneiric spirit which has previously been revealed on Jane Weaver's Bird Records - who also present a cassette version of this LP - and alongside Magpahi for Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. IV. But this is arguably their most effective invocation to date. Guided by black light they offer 10 concentric circles crossing dimensions between occult folk, cinematic techno and crushing noise scapes, calling to mind comparisons with everyone from Vatican Shadow or Prurient to Ectoplasm Girls and Grouper, but maintaining their very own silhouette against that backdrop. In a word, it's spellbinding stuff and we reckon a lot of folk are going to fall for them."—Boomkat

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