Temple Music is perhaps a project that every fan of the strong experimental and neofolk scenes of the 90’s should be made aware of for no other reason than the involvement of primary song-writer and ex-World Serpent owner Alan Trench — though a few other musicians are also involved in this effort. Firstly is the other currently official member of the project in Stephen Robinson whom adds much of the warmth found in most Temple Music offerings through synth, bass and harmonium. Of course, this isn’t the first Orchis-related side-project that these two powerful musicians have taken part in together, with the first evidence of their collaborations coming with the lone album from Cunnan, “Foxfire and Aconite” (2005) — an album that few are likely to know even existed due to it’s mere limitation of 30 copies. Other musicians taking part on this album are Rebecca Loftiss (The Gray Field Recordings, Language of Light, AntiClock Records owner) and Frank Suchomel (also of Language of Light.) A line-up such as this one should already begin spelling out the experience for you.
However, one shouldn’t assume something about an album they haven’t heard based on the musicians involved, should they? After all, a unique line-up deserves a unique sound and in fact, the primary genuine quality that is found within Temple Music’s sound is it’s ability to shift in a chameleon-esque nature between different styles of music, though they are close enough to bleed into one another seamlessly. The album opens with the youthful and repetitive “Mirrors”, a brightly-toned track that drones in the glorious warmth of the softer moments of artists like My Bloody Valentine with a mild electronic weirdness lurking in the background. The title track, “Children of the Sun”, takes the intrinsic ritual vocal style of Stone Breath and mixes it with the crystal clear guitar sound of Backworld (see “Magick is Love”) as well as a trudging, raw, old-school goth rock rhythmic bombast that eventually evolves into a hazy psyched-out guitar solo that distorts into a feedback-ridden ending. Other tracks such as “ISM” have a more modern rock sound that remind of a shoegaze-style Muse.
“Death went Fishing” is a strangely dreary yet nearly satirical offering that slowly moves along through the backwoods mists and seems to get more serious in tone as it goes. Trumpet and harmonium line the background of the track with melodic significance and, while the instrumentation already creates an atmospheric aura around the music, the song seems to beg for an accordion-style element ala Osewoudt. The ambient processing that precedes the beauty of “Momentum” contains an inaudible underlying track that reminds of the noisy monolith that is Sonic Youth while the oncoming 12-string acoustic/piano melody is a definitively ghostly intro that I can’t help but hear elements of “Hotel California” in. Ironically, this track seems to have the accordion influence that the previous seemed to be missing. Inevitably, the inaudible section that lined the opening of the previous track reprises to be fully heard to end the album and is more of a down-tempo straight-forward psych rock style.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Temple Music lies outside of the music itself and within the lyrics that he has created for the songs found on the album. Dark, poetic lines with spacially-placed psychedelic tendencies to parallel the music occupy the vocal presence throughout all tracks, reminding of the more ingenious minds of the neofolk world like Michael Cashmore in their surreal nature and ability to create a world that is often full of color and movement, giving life to the images that are represented as mere words. It’s not a perfect release, but Temple Music’s “Children of the Sun” is an impressive effort that not only shows off the experiences of the various musicians involved through their years of playing music, but also showcases the quality of the releases that AntiClock has slowly become known for in the underground avant-folk world. This edition of the release features individually hand-painted covers by Alan Trench as well as gold stamping within the packaging and a lyrics sheet to all but the final track.
02) Children of the Sun
04) Death went Fishing
06) Warlord of the Royal Crocodiles