Acclaimed London-based sonic explorer Seb Rochford unleashes a startling new band and debut album. The frontier where doom rhythms rub against haunted saxophone atmospherics. A four-time Mercury Prize nominee (Polar Bear, Sons of Kemet, Basquiat Strings) Pulled by Magnets is Seb's most sublime and provocative musical statement to date.
From the off, it sounds unlike anything the Scots-born, London-based, desert-loving drummer of Anglo-Indian and English/Irish heritage has done before. Gone are the quizzical, music-hall-at-the-end-of-the-world stylings of Polar Bear, to be replaced by a soundtrack of the mind that is, by turns, sublime, stately and provocative. Rose Golden Doorways was recorded in The Old Church in Stoke Newington, London and features, in addition to Rochford, Polar Bear comrade Pete Wareham on saxophone and Neil Charles (Zed-U, Empirical) on bass guitar.
Even with the help of the church, you'll wonder how the three of them managed to make the sound they do, especially when you learn that the album is a series of live takes, with no added studio woo. In his own words, Seb wanted "an overwhelming, big sound", one partly informed by his interest in the musical beyond of his grindcore/death/heavy roots. But there's another tradition at work here, the fruit of recent travels and musical study in India, the country of his mother's birth. He wanted to bring to this band the experiments with pacing and time found in the classical Indian raag - something that, happily, Neil seemed to understand instinctively. Along with that was some intensive reading of ancient Indian and Bedouin texts, and it's a sense of the ancient that permeates the record more than anything else - most clearly, to these ears, in "Breath That Sparks" as it resolves into the frankly terrifying "Those Among Us".
There's huge scale involved here - a sense of space, of geology, of tectonic plates shifting, like a piece of sonic Land Art wrought by Pete's titanic sax and eased (or hammered) into place by Seb's drums. For all that, this is a deeply personal, perhaps even intimate record, sound-tracking as it does Seb's own post-everything musical re-set, while the process of creation, which involves him singing the music to himself before writing it down on the piano, is a remarkably tender one for a record of this size.
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