I spoke at the beginning of the blog about my occupation with music that doesn’t sit comfortably anywhere, dissolving reductive concepts of scene or sound and refusing to remain static. However, even more so than this, when artistic disciplines collide with each other, this understanding is amplified as the experience becomes more visceral, enveloping more of your senses.
The people behind the Passarella Death Squad clothing line have crossed the barrier from the visual to the aural by stepping into the studio to make their debut album. The multi-talented and mysteriously titled Passarella Death Squad have created one of the most beguiling albums this year in the form of said self-titled LP released on the Republic Of Desire Recordings imprint.
Stunning in its efficacy, the bare bones that create the skeleton of the record create an engrossing, violent and seductive framework for Emilie Albisser to weave her rich vocals through. Simultaneously spacious and claustrophobic, the sparse and repetitive arrangements hypnotise the listener, slowly drawing you into an altered consciousness – a parallel universe of eternal darkness, desire and decadence.
Pinned down by the viscous atmospheres, the mechanical pulse of the drums and the slow chug of the bass, the sinister siren song of Albisser’s vocals mesmerize. A dark dissonance permeates through the album as the elements are contorted by the pervasive tense atmosphere, uneasy when they come into contact with each other.
Deeply evocative of space and time, the hauntingly beautiful collection of music conjures images of lost souls and succubi, echoing chambers and midnight boudoirs. Recalling the dark psychadelic haze of The Velvet Underground or the ethereal fog of Portishead, Passarella Death Squad build their own world in which their music comes into existence, and once you step inside they will make sure that you will never escape.
This is an album to be devoured whole, an immersive and addictive experience.
Hi, can you please introduce yourselves?
Passarella Death Squad is myself (Danny Broddle) with Emilie Albisser and for the music side of things we’re joined by Kinglsey Gratrick.
How was Passarella Death Squad born?
I started Passarella in 2003. Originally it was just one t-shirt design and the clothing started from there, but around the same time myself and Kingsley started playing about with musical ideas.
What is the setup of the band?
Myself and Kingsley wrote the music for the album, with myself writing the lyrics and Emilie arranging and singing the vocals.
You are predominantly known as a clothing company. How was the project conceived? Has it always run alongside the fashion line?
Yes, from the start we have done both things together.
You have kept the clothing line and musical project under the same name. Do you think that each informs the other? Do you see threads feeding through both of them?
I think the music and clothing compliment each other.
Do you see music as being intertwined with visuals? In the creative process, was this something that you thought about?
I do see music as being intertwined with visuals, most definitely, but strangely it wasn’t something i thought about making the album. I think this is probably because the design company M/M Paris who create all the Republic of Desire Recordings artwork would be taking care of any visual aspect of the music.
Did you take creative control over the visual aspect of the album?
M/M Paris create all the visuals of all of our releases. We have no input whatsoever, which i really enjoy as i trust them totally.
How long has the album been in the making?
Our first EP, ‘Ima/Blackout’, came out on The Republic of Desire Recordings in 2007, but for the final ten tracks that made the album all in all its been around five years now.
The album is very evocative of place and time. How was it recorded?
The base of the album music ie. the bass and drum patterns were all written on a Roland groovebox 303, with additional guitar and various effects added on the day in the recording studio. The album itself was engineered by Tim Holmes of Death In Vegas.
There is a pervasive sense of dark malaise running through the album. Are you naturally drawn to deeper, darker sounds or is it an unconscious development?
I like darker, deeper music generally, but writing the album it wasn’t written down that it must sound like that so it was really more of an unconscious thing i suppose.
The album evokes an array of different musical touchstones from the spaciousness of dubstep to the ethereality of Portishead and the dark haze of Velvet Underground. What were your major musical influences while making the record?
We had a sort of DJ mix set by the Cocteau Twins ‘Robin Guthrie’ which was hosted on the old ‘d-i-r-t-y.com’ website that was a huge influence on the overall dark atmospherics.
Were there any other sources that you particularly drew influence and inspiration from during the making of the album?
There’s a track by Siouxie & The Banshees called ‘Red Light’ that we used to try and copy the beats from at the beginning when we were trying to learn how to programme the 303.
What other projects have you got on the go at the moment and over the coming months?
Quite a bit. For September alone we have the debut album out on the 20th, then we start work on the second album with ‘Perc’ who runs Perc Trax. We have the Autumn/Winter t-shirt collection coming out along with a ready to wear men’s clothing range being launched exclusively at Selfridges, London on the 30th. We also have a Passarelly / G Shock watch coming out on the 9th and on the 10th we’re playing in Berlin for the opening of a new clothing store called ‘Darklands Berlin’.
-‘PASSARELLA DEATH SQUAD’ IS OUT ON THE REPUBLIC OF DESIRE RECORDINGS ON 20TH SEPTEMBER