Ashley Dalle, once the fiery spirit behind Wax Girls and Trash Music, has taken a detour from her punk-goth detours. Now, under the mysterious cloak of night, the NYC-based musician dances with synths in her quiet chambers as Charity Kill.
The new album Garden of Earthly Horrors is a tantalizing, if disturbing electronic journey, an exploration that flits between serenity, palpable panic, and the raw sting of heartbreak. All of this drama is set to the rhythm of erratic darkwave dance beats.
In a dim twist, where Mort Garson’s nurturing “Plantasia” left off, “Garden of Earthly Horrors” paints a stark and melancholic portrait of nature’s own lament, seen from the very eyes of the flora we so thoughtlessly exploit. It’s not an easy listen, and rightfully so, for our green comrades have faced enough suffering. In this exploration, the whispered secrets of Victorian flower language unfurl and blossom into fresh interpretations from the plants themselves in this avant-garde experiment. The blooms speak louder and clearer than ever, our silent soothsayers.
Daisy is a pulsing rhymic dreamt that marches towards a synth drone like a beacon. Hydrangea chills to the core. Melancholic droplets, reminiscent of a sad, post-calamity announcement, punctuate its rhythmic iciness.
Marigold’s retro drum pads conjure a foreboding and cinematic sci-fi soundscape, guiding a narrative that leads to an alternate timeline of yesteryear dreams of tomorrow.
On the other hand, Orchid is all about urgency: its haunting cries eerily reminiscent of warning sirens, begging for attention in a world often too deaf to heed. Wildflower is a curious swirl of soft burbling synths and sombre chords and harp-like strums.
Amaranth has a psychedelic 60s sitar-like feel, feeling like an outtake from one of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd’s experimentations. Carnation (Outro) chatters away manically, an SOS broadcast in frantic waves, underpinned by a serene undercurrent of static. Like a flower in the storm, it seeks solace amidst chaos, a final plea from the petals.
On this album, Dalle pays homage to her past musical loves: the intensity of freestyle, the mesmerizing allure of classic EBM, and the dreamlike state induced by ambient melodies. Whispers of Apoptygma Bezerk, This Mortal Coil, bel canto, and the legendary Brian Eno leave their mark on her creation, although the experimental works of Fad Gadget/Frank Tovey can also be heard here.
Garden of Earthly Horrors is a product solely of Dalle: producer, recording artist, engineer, and master…resulting in the eternal question: “my god, what have we done?”
Listen below and order it from Bandcamp here:
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