Bristol avant/neo-folk/ritual ambient ensemble Dead Space Chamber Music have unleashed ‘Ion,’ the viscerally intense first video from their sophomore album, “The Black Hours”. Filmed and edited by Katie Murt Photography, ‘Ion’ presents something challenging for adventurous listeners. 

“We filmed in the vaulted medieval crypt of St John on the Wall, Bristol, in January 2022 — a place we have performed many times and that has been really important to the development of how we sound, the imagery we gravitate towards, and the whole atmosphere around what we do.”

The album, “The Black Hours”, is inspired by a medieval devotional ‘book of hours’ of the same name — a unique and intimate book of prayers, created between 1460-1475 on black vellum and handcrafted with silver, gold, and (the most valuable of the three) turquoise.

The book marks The Liturgy of the Hours, or The Office of the Dead: prayers that could carry a soul in need from dusk through to dawn, through the darkest of nights.

Working on the album from late 2019 through to the middle of 2021, the group kept the flame burning throughout the pandemic by leaning into the theme of the marking of time as a sacred act — the focused dedication to prayer being akin to the focus of creating and crafting music.

The video ‘Ion’ offers a deeper delve into the visual world of the album through the sequence of three ‘miniatures’. These are highly symbolic diorama-style band portraits — rich with secret messages and hidden meanings — which feature in the booklet created to accompany the release.

In the video, the viewer is thrust into a mysterious and intoxicating world where scale is uncertain, centuries collide, and the ground shakes beneath.

The band is seen fixed and memorial-like amongst an array of architectural features, obscure creatures, and fragments of collage, placing them in an exploded, then suspended, alternate form of the original prayer book. 

All the while the track, ‘Ion’ (which appears on “The Black Hours” in two parts), underpins proceedings, writhing, never resting, summoning a myriad of archaic and unearthly sounds that cut right to the bone.

Its wide dynamics are fully charged with avant-garde approaches including a bowed cymbal run through analogue delay, a variety of non-musical sounds (found sounds), a bullroarer (ancient drone instrument), and voice, cello, and guitar all emitting their myriad cries. 

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