Oct 29, 2019
OBSCURA HAIL - ZERO
Conceived on NSW’s South Coast, and now buried alive somewhere in Melbourne, Obscura Hail (Sean Conran, Tamara Issa & Steven West) are sneaking into Melbourne’s intimate spaces and filling strangers with relative truths. The somewhat serious themes of ontology, existentialism, love and loss are framed with sincerity by the lush, but gentle classical guitar work, and the motif of almost whispered, though richly layered vocal harmonies.
Sean Conran on 'Goth': "Goth's core was one take. A slacker vocal reading of two separate songs, forced to contrast each other under the one light. I blasted a looped beat through my Nintendo DS (running Korg M-01) and maxed out the gain on both my guitar pedal and 10 track."
"Eventually I Iayered more of my own and Tamara’s (bass/bv’s) delicate vocals, sweetened the chorus, threw mud on the verses, and thickened the distortion before bringing it to Sam Swain, who humanised the percussion, accentuated the tones that floated to the surface of the muck by recording new guitar parts, pitch-shifting here and there."
A commitment to their craft has culminated in Conran consistently delivering fresh compositions, drip-fed weekly via his Patreon page, nearing its 160th volume. The last record, Pallbearer was self-produced and warmly received, now Obscura Hail can be found experimenting with more diverse live instrumentation to reflect the ever-thickening arrangements in preparation for their newest release; Zero.
Carrying a stark beauty, minimalist in nature but impressive in impact, the EP reflects the hands of Sun Kil Moon, the heart of Sufjan Stevens and the method of Elliot Smith. Dealing with themes of memory loss and death through anecdotal nostalgia. The live show is intricate and intriguing, think stunning vocal harmonies, beautiful projections, atmospheric loops and subtle use of live and electronic percussion all performed by a three-piece. "'For each track, the demos are the foundations, not the reference; the original recording contains enough detail about the emotional state or intent to carry the enthusiasm through the marathon of layering that follows," says Conran.
Zero is out now through Dot Dash/Remote Control.