"Love is Grasshopper Nearby"  experimental album from Virtical Foliage

"Love is Grasshopper Nearby" experimental album from Virtical Foliage


“Vertical Foliage is a collaboration between composers Heloise Tunstall-Behrens (who studied under Eli Keszler during a CAMP residency) and Gryphon Rue that sits just on the right side of a woo woo refraction from the cosmic prism. Recorded in the strangely warm resonance of an abandoned police facility in Mile End, the album might be an attempt at channelling pre-modern vocal and rhythmic exertions, especially on the title track and the excellently-named 'Translucent Cromlech'. 'Pylon Shadow Stenness' has the sort of esoteric rattling Liars summoned on They Were Wrong So We Drowned's interlude tracks, while 'Ancestral Realm' and 'Rutilant' are satisfying arcane drone. Love Is A Grasshopper Nearby glistens with hallucinatory, summer atmospheres, a space in which to dream.” (Luke Turner, The Quietus)

Vertical Foliage's debut "Love is a Grasshopper Nearby" explores the colours and haptics of interference patterns and spectrality created by the voices of Heloise, Gryphon, and his continuously bowed saw. Each performance is bound by specific frequency clusters; chord identities stamping each movement in the music. Within the constraints of pre-selected intervals, Vertical Foliage nimbly and sensually explores the textural and harmonic interplay in the evolving interactions among the voices. Valentina Magaletti (Tomaga, Vanishing Twin, Fanfarlo) responds to the haunting voices with percussive improvisations by turns virtuosic and creaturely, channeling shimmers of Jaki Liebezeit, Ikue Mori, Milford Graves.

Throughout, Love Is A Grasshopper Nearby glistens with hallucinatory, summer atmospheres, a space in which to dream. - The Quietus

"Love is a Grasshopper Nearby" was recorded while Tunstall-Behrens and Rue faced gazing at each other, their bodies relaxed and motionless, the saw acting as a kind of tamboura. The evocation of a third body or spirit through sustained sound. Prior to performance, attunement exercises involve visualizing and sounding corresponding colors, tones, and syllables for their bodies chakras. The system and sound of Vertical Foliage conjure up predecessors: La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela harmonizing with a sine wave The Black Album (1969), Eliane Radigue's hyper-subtle music of emotional perception, Alvin Lucier's fascination with the artistic application of physics, Deep Listening explorations of Pauline Oliveros, flute drones of Mary Jane Leach, Folke Rabe's "What??", and contemporary kin like Sarah Davachi.

The pair were drawn to the acoustics of a former police academy in Mile End, London, a "sanctuary space" as the building awaits its uncertain fate. The music was further enhanced with an old-fashioned 300 kilo plate reverb.

"Love is a Grasshopper Nearby" features an original film of The Big Apple Circus (1987) shot on 35 mm. by Rue's father. It captures a moment of authenticity in circus, with a host of legendary international performers. The film draws out the theatrical and tribalistic aspects of Vertical Foliage.

Heloise Tunstall-Behrens also performs with Deep Throat Choir and Landshapes. Gryphon Rue performs in the audiovisual duo Rue Bainbridge, and is the author of Strange Attractor (published fall 2019 by Inventory Press & Ballroom Marfa).