Gas Lit is the new album by the multidimensional duo Divide and Dissolve, incoming on Invada Records on 29th January, and produced by Ruban Neilson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The album is preceded today by the second single and powerful video “Denial” which encapsulates their message behind the music: to undermine and destroy the white supremacist colonial framework and to fight for Indigenous Sovereignty, Black and Indigenous Liberation, Water, Earth, and Indigenous land given back.
Divide and Dissolve’s mighty new single “Denial” is a potent blend of ominous and unsettling sax that blows wide open into colossal riffs for almost eight glorious minutes. The accompanying video was shot in Taupo, Aotearoa by notable indigenous music video director Amber Beaton at the end of the southern hemisphere’s winter.
The vibrant, unfolding colours and delicate personality of the flowers at the beginning of the film have the potential to be in contrast with the intro of the song, but it’s actually escorted by it perfectly. It’s further varied with the colossal boom signalling the arrival of the guitars and drums while visually we start to explore the thermal grumblings of the Taupo volcanic zone. We follow the Huka falls/Waikato awa (Waikato river) up stream to settle into Taupo-Nui-A-Tia moana (Lake Taupo) as the return of the sax lulls us gently after being nourished so generously by Divide and Dissolve’s signature gargantuan tone. Thanks are given to the local Iwitribe Ngāti Tūwharetoa, the rightful guardians of the whenua/land and to Rūaumoko the god of volcanoes, earthquakes and the seasons.
Director Amber Beaton comments, “I’m a huge fan of D/D and so happy to have made this video for them. I understand and appreciate the message behind the music and I wanted to make sure the video held the same intentions no matter how subtle. For instance, we start off with a shot of a Kōwhai tree. Native to Aotearoa, Kōwhai in bloom signifies to Māori that some seafood is ready for harvest, the roots can be used to make fishing hooks, the sap on the sunny side of the tree can be used to heal wounds… but the vibrancy of the yellow flower was also the first thing Captain Cook saw when he arrived on the shores of Aotearoa signalling the start of colonial violence on this whenua/land. The changing colours of its flower in the video represents our change as a country and as people since that fateful arrival.”
Divide and Dissolve members Takiaya Reed (saxophone, guitar, live effects/ (Black & Tsalagi [Cherokee]) and Sylvie Nehill (drums, live effects/ (Māori) create instrumental music that is both heavy and beautiful, classically influenced yet thrillingly contemporary, and powerfully expressive and communicative. It has the ability to speak without words, and utilises frequencies to interact with the naturally occurring resonance. The band comment, “Sometimes we don’t need to talk in order for others to understand what’s going on. We are also communicating with our ancestors through the music. Our ancestors help us to communicate with each other on a deeper level as well. This deep connection is able to be achieved without words.”
There is an undeniable chemistry between the two musicians when interlocked in their waves of sound. The band reveals how that connection has been there since the very beginning, “When we first started playing music together we didn’t know each other very well. However in the beginning of getting to know each other we spoke of our Indigeneity and thought it was important to share about our families. This was unique and special for us to be able to share and create a cohesive infrastructure for writing our music.”
Supporting the work, and lifting the experience of talented people around them is another key aspect of the Divide and Dissolve vision. This is apparent in their collaborations with music video directors such as Amber Beaton mentioned above, and Chi Chi Castillo (director) and Sepand Mashiahof (producer) who made the video for the lead single “We Are Really Worried About You”. On another new album track “Did You Have Something To Do With It” the band again enlist writer/artist Minori Sanchiz-Fung who has appeared on previous releases, to perform a compelling spoken word piece.
Gas Lit is the third full-length album from Divide and Dissolve, and first for Invada. The album is due out on all formats on 29th January.
Did You Have Something To Do With It
Far From Ideal
It’s Really Complicated
We Are Really Worried About You
Recommend for fans of: James Baldwin, Osa Atoe, Adrienne Davies, the ocean and freshwater, breath/breathing, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Afro Futurism, Indigenous Futurism, indigenous sovereignty, slavery abolition, resistance, the forest, bodies of water, being submerged, the railroad, and Ai Ogawa.