It took me some time to catch up with Elizabeth Bernholz’s alter ego Gazelle Twin in a live setting, what with her lack of home town performance dates, but she was worth every second of the wait. In a knock-out and characteristically unsettling visual spectacle, Bernholz stalked the stage and scanned the audience like some cretaceous avatar, in keeping with the sentiments of her latest album, Pastoral. The album’s message that Britain is a dangerously deluded, hubristic dinosaur comes across loud and clear, as did the brutal, unnerving live beats that provide the backdrop to Bernholz’s perfectly incongruous, almost angelic, soprano vocals. This was a show with more than just one toe in performance art. The Gazelle Twin image is every bit as important as the Gazelle Twin sound, and its latest incarnation, as faceless court jester meets football fan, meets St. George’s flag, meets a certain, highly corporate, ubiquitous soft drink, is as striking as it is disturbing. This is very much art in the context of its time, chewing and spewing the political landscape that it finds itself in. The end result was thrilling, haunting and yet strangely reassuring.
It has been one hell of a year. From the influx of thousands of artists during festival season to watching many of our most-loved Brighton bands bloom into genuine world beaters, 2018 has been an incredibly successful year for music locally. Our Brightonsfinest writers now look back over the past 12 months to remember their highlights on record and in the live sphere as well as the ones we missed.
Music has this tendency to throw up the unexpected. Take Elizabeth Benholz, aka Gazelle Twin, a new mother, and outwardly normal looking. However, when she immerses herself in music, she wholeheartedly takes on a partial alter-ego (part her, part someone else), and makes sounds and sings lyrics utterly at odds with her public persona. Appearances, in her case, can be misleading.
Elizabeth Bernholz (nee Walling) is an extraordinary electronic composer, musician, producer and performer who trades under the name of Gazelle Twin. Forged in a rural idyll in Middle-England and four years in the making (amidst life-changing events, including a move away from Brighton), Pastoral is the first major release by the artist since her 2014 album Unflesh. It's a fascism-infused hellscape, this time set in deepest Old England. Jeff Hemmings asked her about her artistic vision, child rearing, and her public vs private persona.
The EU Referendum, and its noxious aftermath, is STILL the big news of the day, as the countdown to the UK’s exit from the EU continues, people of all political persuasions (and even those who swear non-allegiance) in conversation about it all. What a Pandora’s box! While it could be argued that tensions were always simmering beneath the surface of the supposedly liberal, tolerant, and welcoming British veneer, they were just that. Since then, tensions have been ratcheted up, perhaps close to the point of boiling over, which is what some are predicting in the not-too-distant future, largely dependent upon whether or not a ‘deal’ is struck between the EU and the UK, and how that situation ends up exasperating the current austere socio-economic landscape.
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts will be a producing partner for Brighton Digital Festival this year, presenting a curated programme of electronic music and digital installation. These will come from a host of different artists including Max Cooper, Gaika, Gazelle Twin, Martin Messier, Suzanne Ciani and James Holden & The Animal Spirits (4th-12th October).
“I want to get the fuck out of here NOW” is the panic-stricken sentiment behind Gazelle Twin’s new single, ‘Hobby Horse’, the first fruits from her new album, Pastoral, out on 21st September, on her own label, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray.
Gazelle Twin headlines Supersonic Festival in Birmingham, on 23rd June. In keeping with her ever-morphing performance persona, Gazelle Twin is now clad in red and white, head to toe, the colours of a familiar flag.