As German blues/psychedelic rock quartet GAVIAL prepares for the May release of their new LP, VOR, through Exile On Mainstream, today, Treble is hosting an exclusive video premiere for the record’s lead single, “Circles, Part 1.”
VOR is characterized by the search for a contemporary expression of the blues without questioning its authenticity. GAVIAL weaves musical inspiration from ambient, soul, gospel, and country into different threads from a carpet of sound that simply ignores the sharp cliffs of redundant categories such as retro or stoner. The music doesn’t need name dropping, but if you still want to make room in your thematically sorted record shelf, you’re welcome to make some room in the compartments in which you put your Screaming Trees, Flying Eyes, Black Crowes, or Woodcocks, so that GAVIAL can find space in them.
Lyrically, GAVIAL is cautiously concrete, exploring the ambivalent depths of the soul where there are more questions than answers. Singer Benjamin Butter intones lyrical sketches of emotional states between melancholy, quiet anger, and hope, reminiscent of Charles Baudelaire, and turns the voice into another instrument. The interplay with driving bass lines and Americana-esque guitars results in music as it should be: melodic but not profane, accessible but with a fragile base.
VOR was recorded in the band’s rehearsal room and mixed by Benjamin Butter and Bernard Camilleri, who has become their go-to sound engineer. Bernard Camilleri did the mastering at his Xekillton Studio in Malta. The artwork is from the Flowers Of Terrible series by Berlin-based artist Hamid Yaraghchi.
The video for VOR’s lead single, “Circles, Part 1,” was filmed and edited by vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Butter, the band writing with its release, “The song deals with loss and trauma passed down from generation to generation and the video tries to convey a sense of awkward intimacy, which can often be felt during family interactions. On the one hand, the video features classic family footage shot by a hand camera. The additional use of an up-scaling algorithm, on the other hand, turns the people and objects in these shots from something familiar into something painterly and uncanny. The result of this clash of technological generations is an oppressive and gloomy atmosphere that fittingly describes the contrasting views on reality between young and old in these modern times.”
Treble writes with the song’s debut, “The clip features home movies rendered through uncanny digital filters, while the song itself is an atmospheric and melancholy meditation on trauma. It’s sparse, beautiful and elegiac, carrying more than a trace of peak Pink Floyd in its haunting melody and Mark Lanegan in its bluesy mysticism.”
Watch GAVIAL’s “Circles, Part 1” first at Treble, now playing RIGHT HERE.
Exile On Mainstream will release GAVIAL’s VOR on Black Vinyl LP and digitally May 19th, and a limited CD version will be made available at the band’s concerts. Find preorders for the LP HERE and digital HERE.
VOR Track Listing:
1. Circles, Part 1
2. Modern Times
5. Circles Part 2
Watch for additional previews of VOR to be issued as the record nears release. GAVIAL is also booking live performances to support the record throughout the year.
9/29/2023 Archiv – Potsdam, DE
9/30/2023 Blechschloss (Scheune) – Dresden, DE
10/02/2023 Urban Spree –Berlin, DE
The story of GAVIAL began nearly fifteen years ago as a project adapted from a Nirvana song and pun as “Two Red Boys.” Having released three albums as Tourette Boys, two collaborations with UK-based blues musician Tim Holehouse, and a split EP with labelmates Gaffa Ghandi, the band played countless gigs and tours with bands like Acid Mothers Temple, Dyse, Gaffa Ghandi, The Skull, True Widow and Sleepy Sun. This musical project is based on friendship even though the musicians live in different cities. The vast and untouched landscapes between Berlin and Dresden may have contributed to the inspiration for the sound of the band, which repeatedly tries to ground Psychedelic abstraction in modern blues. The result is more reminiscent of the desert rock that we know from the vastness of Arizona than the urban hustle and bustle in big cities. Shimmering soundscapes, partly dark and melancholic, then again full of hope and glaring light filled with the comforting, but nonetheless ominous heat of the desert – GAVIAL remains true masters of that.
With VOR, the band’s fourth album is for the first time distributed on a label, uniting with their friends at Exile On Mainstream. For the recordings in 2022 the band grew from a trio to a quartet, and with that move comes the name change that was long overdue.