You can feel the deep intention in Divide and Dissolve’s music. Their dense sound is overwhelmingly heavy; a dissonant pounding of percussion, guitars, piano, synths and saxophone, interwoven with passages of orchestral beauty that give a feeling of respite. “The heaviness is really important,” saxophonist / guitarist Takiaya Reed says. “It’s congruent with the message of the music, and the heaviness feels emblematic of this world’s situation.”
Divide and Dissolve’s moving new single “Indignation,” “is a prayer that land be given back to Indigenous people,” she explains. “A hope that future generations no longer experience the atrocities and fervent violence that colonisation continues to bring forth.”
It’s available today with an accompanying video directed by Sepi Mashiahof. Of the piece, she tells, “In reflecting on the powerful and vital messaging found in Divide and Dissolve’s music: decolonization, the destruction of white supremacy, and liberation from oppressive structures—this video is about the collective grief we experience about the lives we all could have were it not for the cruel and arbitrary systems of power that impede each and every one of our potentials. The potential to truly love ourselves and each other is distorted by the agendas of vicious capitalist vultures who seek to emaciate our joys, bonds, and communities for their own gain. This video depicts an abstracted portrait of what suffering under these accelerating conditions feels like. Technology, dysphoria, dream-form sentience, transaction, and depersonalization constitute the thematic palette, laid upon the hope of shedding our current forms and transcending into boundless, beautiful ether.”
Like its predecessor Gas Lit, Systemic was produced by Ruban Neilson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Systemic was recorded as a duo and Takiaya says this new album is a continuation of 2021’s acclaimed Gas Lit. “Because of what was built with ‘Gas Lit’, ‘Systemic’ is able to express itself.”
As Takiaya emphasises, it’s crucial for their music to be instrumental. “I believe in the power of non-verbal communication,” she continues, “A huge percent of communication is non-verbal. We learn so much without using words.” The exception to this on the album is one spoken word track, “Kingdom of Fear”, that features writer and artist Minori Sanchiz-Fung who also contributed to previous Divide and Dissolve albums. The band’s choice to include Minori’s words is purposeful and important to their message (excerpt below):
If I am denied
Needed to transform sorrow
If I am denied
The simple gentleness
Then I will leave
Like lichen over the oak branches,
trusting they’ll be safe
Until you find them
Systemic is a thick wash of sound, equal parts beauty and anguish and creates a wholly encompassing experience for even a casual listener.
The message of positivity is conveyed in Systemic’s final track “Desire”: a beautiful, multi-layered euphony of sound that feels like a beacon of hope. “There’s a world I want to live in, and I’m going to continue to focus on that world,” Takiaya says. “Indigenous people are here. With our existence it challenges the colonial constructs that call for genocide. We are still alive.”
Systemic arrives on all formats via Invada on June 30th.