Divide and Dissolve




Press release and biography

“Systems built on hate always fail.”

Divide and Dissolve’s new and fourth album Systemic examines the systems that intrinsically bind us and calls for a system that facilitates life for everyone. It’s a message that fits with the band’s core intention: to make music that honours their ancestors and Indigenous land, to oppose white supremacy, and to work towards a future of Black and Indigenous liberation. 

“This music is an acknowledgement of the dispossession that occurs due to colonial violence,” says Takiaya Reed, saxophonist and guitarist in Divide and Dissolve. “The goal of the colonial project is to separate Indigenous people from their culture, their life force, their community and their traditions. The album is in direct opposition to this.”

You can feel the deep intention in Divide and Dissolve’s music. Their dense sound is overwhelmingly heavy; a dissonant pounding of percussion, guitars, piano, synths and saxophone, interwoven with passages of orchestral beauty that give a feeling of respite. 

“The heaviness is really important,” Takiaya says. “It’s congruent with the message of the music, and the heaviness feels emblematic of this world’s situation.”

Like their previous release Gas LitSystemic was recorded as a duo, and produced by Ruban Neilson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Takiaya says this new album is a continuation of Gas Lit“Because of what was built with Gas Lit, Systemic is able to express itself.” 

In Systemic, Divide and Dissolve reflect deeply on the systems that perpetuate colonial violence. Lead single, “Blood Quantum”, is calling into question the violent process of verification of Identity. Equally, the album reflects on systems that facilitate a better future. “The album is a prayer to our ancestors,” Takiaya says. “A prayer for land to be given back to Indigenous people, and for future generations to be free from this cycle of violence.” 

As Takiaya emphasises, it’s crucial for their music to be instrumental. “I believe in the power of non-verbal communication,” she continues, “A huge percent of communication is non-verbal. We learn so much without using words.”  The exception to this on the album is one spoken word track, Kingdom of Fear, that features writer and artist Minori Sanchiz-Fung who also contributed to previous Divide and Dissolve albums. The band’s choice to include Minori’s words is purposeful and important to their message (excerpt below, full lyrics in the PDF attached):

“If I am denied

The kindness

Needed to transform sorrow

If I am denied

The simple gentleness

Of existing,

Then I will leave

My gifts

Like lichen over the oak branches,

trusting they’ll be safe

Until you find them.”

Listening to them is immensely visceral – an experience you feel through your entire body. Volume is central to Divide and Dissolve. 

“Divide and Dissolve is a dynamic band,” Takiaya says. “It needs to push limitations sonically – it must for the music to make sense. There are certain frequencies that you can feel in different parts of your body with different levels of sound. The music is designed to be played at a certain volume in order to achieve resonance.” 

Even on record, Systemic is a thick wash of sound, equal parts beauty and anguish and creates a wholly encompassing experience for even a casual listener.

For inspiration, Takiaya looks not to other musicians, but to writers: like James Baldwin, Octavia E. Butler and José Esteban Muñoz. “They expand the realm of possibility,” Takiaya says. “And that’s what this music is.” 

The message of positivity is conveyed in Systemic’s final track Desire: a beautiful, multi-layered euphony of sound that feels like a beacon of hope. “There’s a world I want to live in, and I’m going to continue to focus on that world,” Takiaya says. “Indigenous people are here. With our existence it challenges the colonial constructs that call for genocide. We are still alive.”

Divide and Dissolve are focused on Indigenous Sovereignty. Takiaya is Black and Cherokee, and Sylvie is Māori. As a duo they released two full length albums, Basic (2017) and Abomination (2018) through DERO Arcade before signing with Invada to release their widely acclaimed third album Gas Lit in 2021, which was hailed Mary Anne Hobbs’ Album of the Year.  A Gas Lit remix EP was released in 2021, including reworkings of Divide and Dissolve’s music by Moor Mother, Chelsea Wolfe and Bearcat. Divide and Dissolve toured throughout North America and Europe in 2022 supporting Low and performing headline dates and festival appearances and have live shows and festival appearances planned in support of Systemic, including appearances at Supersonic Festival and End of the Road. At this time, due to personal reasons, Sylvie will be stepping back from her duties performing live with the band. 
Bio by Hannah May Kilroy

Divide and Dissolve live dates: 

31/08 UK Liverpool @ District 
01/09 UK Leeds @ Headroom House 
02/09 UK Birmingham @ Supersonic festival
03/09 UK Salisbury @ End of The Road Festival
04/09 UK Glasgow @Broadcast
05/09 UK Manchester @ White Hotel
06/09 UK Bristol @ Strange Brew
07/09 UK London @ The Lower Third
08/09 BE Gent @ Trefpunt
09/09 LUX Tetange @ Human’s World festival
10/09 NL Amsterdam @ OCCII
12/09 NO Oslo @ Bla
13/09 SE Gothenburg @ The Abyss
14/09 SE Stockholm @ Slaktkyrkan
15/09 DK Copenhagen @ Alice
16/09 DK Aalborg @ Lasher fest
18/09 DE Hamburg @ MS Stubnitz
19/09 DE Duisburg @ Die Saule
20/09 FR Lille @ La Malterie
21/09 FR Dijon @ Consortium Museum
24/09 PT Porto @ Amplifest
26/09 DE Nurnberg @ Kantine / Soft Spot
27/09 PL Warsaw @ Avant Art festival
28/09 CZ Brno @ Kabinet Muz
29/09 DE Berlin @ De:code curated by Decolonoize