Info Gail Priest's Spider Garden 
"Presentiments from the Spider Garden"
by Gail Priest
Endgame Records (END024)
"A Surface Dwelling Race"
"Tongue Whiplashing"
"Spider Dreams"

Gail Priest's URL


fn issue October 2011
'N-Plants' - Biosphere
'Sky Snails' - The Electric Golem
'Echo Park' - Willamette
'Gramophone Transmissions' - Broken Harbour
'Negative Space' - Blue Sausage Infant
'Home Patterning' - compilation
'Polychromatic Integers' - Richard Lainhart
'Generate Records' - compilation
'Sung In Broken Symmetry' - Aquarelle

Gail Priest has been active in Sydney's sound art scene for nearly a decade, with laptop improv, film, radiophonic works and installations. reviewed her first album a few years ago, and this autumn the Australian label Endgame Records released her second full-length CD, Presentiments From The Spider Garden. Composed from electronics, field recordings and Priest's processed vocals, Presentiments is an extended narrative work with influences ranging from Rainer Maria Rilke's Book of Images to the "indefatigable" spiders in her back yard.

Four brief Spider Spins placed throughout the album tie the suite together, static pseudo-environments that frame the more extended electronic and vocal pieces. Little micro-worlds of environmental sound extend through several of the pieces, most of which segue into each other. Their chaotic undercurrents are sometimes clearly suggestive of field recordings populated by spidery sounds that extend the natural sounds into unanticipated exotic territories. The album's conclusion, In The Faded Forest, tapers into an idyllic garden-scape, complete with buzzing insects, before its abrupt interventional conclusion.

Certain instruments become characters in the narrative as they recur in different tracks. Much of the album is textural explorations, but two tracks are centered around sequenced rhythms reminiscent of the Berlin School, which provide more upbeat, dance-like flavors. Priest's manipulated vocals are a central part of tracks like Vocal Mould and Tongue Whiplashing, placing the voice alternately in individual columns of sound or in primal chants from a lost tribe deep in the jungle. A dark, intense, bowed metal sound pervades The Dark Entrance and reappears in Spider Dreams, where it edges into distressed feedback and metallic accents. The foreboding presentiments seem appropriate here, but the suite explores several other corners of the imagination. There are many creatures in Priest's garden besides common spiders.

Presentiments From The Spider Garden is packaged in a gatefold paper cover, simulating a cloth binding that's been neglected and forgotten in the garden shed stained and weathered, with the latest areneological news on the inside. It is also available as a download from Endgame Record's bandcamp site.

Review by Caleb Deupree


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