Available as a limited edition Cdr and unlimited digital download from Hand/Eye at: darkhollerarts.com/product/united-bible-studies-full-gibbous-cdr/
'Recorded live at the Bohemian National Home, Detroit 2008, and on the road out of Dolla, County Tipperary 2009, this album manages to catch the very soul of a live performance by the loose collective known as United Bible Studies. Having had my mind levitated by them on two separate Terrascopic occasions, especially at Woolf Music, I can testify to the power and intensity of the live experience and this recording comes damn close to that especially in a darkened room at volume.
Split into a three part title track, part one opens with audience sounds and samples that begin to disorientate the listener, that very moment that you fall into a dream state, before there is a quiet lull as a lone voice sings a traditional folk ballad, that voice slowly consumed by electronic trickery and drones that seem to drip from the very ether, psychedelic and unsettling, the piece becoming a long travelling, experimental drone that is thick as fog yet sparkles with an inner luminosity.
Opening with harsh flourishes of noise and voices, sampled, real and quite possibly imagined, part two is ghostly and mischievous, a radio play for the damned that suddenly reveals a gentle core with sweet piano and rattling percussion, soft drones and a musical sunrise that bursts with light.
Bringing back the song, part three has a simple tune interspersed with noise, voice and radio comedy madness, as if someone is cut and pasting the band before your ears, creative and wonderfully bonkers. As the piece moves on the surreal atmosphere takes full hold, like a wyrd-folk Buttholes jamming with Timothy Leary in an abandoned church, the primitive, ritualistic drumming and voices creating evels of tension and intensity that are rarely heard in music today. For the last few minutes the music takes on gentler textures, voices and instruments creating harmonies and drones that drift and caress, soothe the madness that has gone before, offering hope through abandonment, a Phillip Glass soundtrack for outsiders and holy fools.' Simon Lewis, Terrascope.co.uk
Detroit: We stayed fixed whilst some fella with a machete stumbled toward the bus - then veered away in a lysergic aether. The Bohemian National Home was a place of renewal and catalysis: a red block manqué containing thrilling desolation and new dreamscapes of Waste.
It echoed with ghost disintegrate; wallpaper and domestic irons embraced by Wilderness. Not White Picket Lite. Old Man Time spread out his black picnic on that forgotten pocket of rock, wire, road and unease.
We were propelled inwards, instruments sucked in with acceptance. For the duration of that blob of arcane seepage, we were willing parts - hair-blown, eye-bulged, pockets billowing empty to the damp, dust and fetid arras.
We fell to the bar, upon which a feast of weed and seed and grain throbbed in time to our organs now assimilated into the house dimensional: organs which needed the house and which smelled the house, so as that the dust and mould filled our brains and became them. Became them. We talked anew, that we did. Our red eyes soaked in the still decay of Home. We were Home. We were The Home.
And so we played that night - or rather the night played us, wringing from our wretched flesh primeval glotterings, amplified and thrown into the three pairs of ears which sat watching, submitting, morphing - becoming of us. Of our march. Of who we not were, and of who we now sang, heads crammed with the benign stasis of the Home, with the dark damp of our new need. WE WILL WALK.
A piano and a sandwich, liquor and alien declamation. Basketball in the darkness of a haunted ballroom. Tanner's shorts, meaning anew, toes and ankles like grapes in the Court of Morpheus. Tuula, shrieking, long-doomed alabaster under the eternal ceiling of our collective angst. James Rider, eye and larynx screaming on the pole of his body from the black stage - screaming for a motherload of decaying hurt to become assimilated. Colohan, hair stretching upwards into dust, an hallucinating Rasta of a man. Prior gone into Dark, gadgets fidgeted by the hand of his own primal simian ancestor.
Áine impish in mould, nesting in tar, harp strings wrapped around teeth. Lawrence shifting in metal, image of head and blank eyes hammering damp glass: a doctor of a man. Myself, gone and reborn in aspic, a soup kitchen pedant, jacket hurling through the Nothing of my own mind ...
Detroit. Time to go back to the Rancid. Time to take to the Black Stage. Never the same again, never the same again. WE WILL WALK.
'The band's bandcamp page presents the album with this sentence: "sounds and samples that begin to disorientate the listener, that very moment that you fall into a dream state". It's true, and this could even be a very short review as it's a good synthesis, but to be interested in checking out an album a potential listener needs more.
So, what can you expect from this album? Mainly darkness. It's a dream, true, but not about flowers and sunny days. Universal Bible Study is an unusual mixture of electronic, sequencing and sometimes a bit of Irish folk, all tied by dreamy soundscapes which sometimes change into nightmares.
In some parts the music can be even scary, but in any case it requires attention and possibly headphones. It's quite incredible that it has been recorded live. If it wasn't written on the bandcamp page, I would have thought it as a studio album.
This three parts suite has almost no rhythm and could even be considered as a progressive electronic piece. In some parts it reminds also to the Berlin school, but the scary vocals that sometimes appear, in particular on the final crescendo of the first track can't be easily classified.
The second track is the darkest, like a descent into the REM phase. Made mainly of speech and everyday sounds. The third is defined as " like a wyrd-folk Buttholes jamming with Timothy Leary in an abandoned church". Not so dramatic, maybe, but really weird. The alternance of screams and sequencing continuously interrupting a sort of cabaret folk song is genial.
Not a masterpiece, but an interesting thing, likely very different from everything you have heard before.
Give it a try. ' Prog Archives