Guest post by LAURA OLDFIELD FORD
Aldgate- spectral zone colonised by international finance. Towering enclaves, marble clad lobbies, burnished monuments to global capitalism. In 2012 these glacial geometries conjured the sound of Classical Curves, a record steeped in hostile seduction, the archisemiotics of power. Now, in 2015 with a creeping imminence, Dream a Garden is a reminder of the saplings of elder, tangles of wild roses, tendrils of bindweed waiting to push through minute cracks in the walls. The impervious citadel is poised to revert to a dreaming arcadia.
These songs delineate the fracturing of melancholy chambers, the suffocating sadness of the atomised. They evoke the dissociative climb through walkways and landings but like a subterranean river the possibility of escape is always there.
The mesmerising atmosphere lets you melt into walls, push through fences; it ushers the flight from Barratt developments, Redrow bastions and guides you through a whorl of narrow lanes- satellite dishes, corrugated iron, mosques nestled in dilapidated terraces.
Sounds spill from car windows- Commercial Road, Cable street- languid grime pitch shifting in the traffic, traces of ’80s New Wave, glimmers of Prince-
to Swedenborg Gardens and Fortress Wapping, miltancy echoing in the ruins,coming up from the rubble –
1981/ 1984/ 1985/ 1994/ 1999/ 2000/ 2011/ 2015
time compresses– becomes prismatic,
voice, almost buried, filtered through lost temporalities-
Print Strike, Poll Tax, J18-
the dry scents of a heat wave, 2011 uprisings, losing signal-shifting in and out of consciousness-
Meshes, knots, labyrinthine paths. Abandoned pubs, abandoned yards- a spectral archeaology directing us through different rooms,into the foundations of buildings.
Mist burning off in the heat, iridescent vapours; archaic scents of cinnamon, tobacco and coffee unlocked in the bricks of abandoned warehouses.
Crackles- muffled sounds– overlaid skeins, overlaid maps– routes plotted, routes navigated. Mossy brick walls, ferns erupting in the cracks.
Bombsites, derelict wharves, climbing through fences into forgotten gardens.
We are propelled, the beat of the walk, a blazing conduit- through arcadian groves of broken paving stones, arches of jasmine and lilac.
The mercurial span of the Thames, Wapping to Limehouse. Possibilities emerging, sublime sequences.
In these tidal territories space is reordered, we move beyond the tropes of consumerism. We escape the hoardings, shop fronts, the endless online hectoring. We remember how we connected in the realm of the sublime, the celestial. Songs opening apertures to a brooding magic, articulating diffuse moments of bonding, elevating the city by reclaiming it.
Amidst the merchants houses, the cobbled lanes, Foxtons and Savils on Wapping High Street, arrogant totems glowing fluorescent yellow, electric pink. In these sacred sites their presence is a malign vexation. And so it is with capitalism, when it sneaks into your subconscious, when it contaminates precious bonds.
Capitalism has taken our desires and distorted them, reassembled them in a machinic parade of parts, a Hans Bellmer kaleidoscope. The encroachment into subjective spaces, like the city’s enchanted lacunae, are violations, they threaten us at the deepest level . Without cherished connections, without the budleia and the briar, we dissoicate, feel oursleves splintering.
A brass carillon, we recognise it, a call, an exhortation to act- voice sweeping in layers- radiant cascades of guitar, moments of anticipation emerging under machinic attack, a critical intoxication, the regaining of signal- cherry blossom and magnolia suddenly here– This is us winning– moving through the city- Foxtons wrecked, Aylesbury occupied, Aldgate erupting- the triumph of the swarm, the collective on its way somewhere better–a dark psycedelia, an ominous presence.
Dream a Garden gauges the mood of the UK in 2015 – SSRIs, austerity, housing crisis- and reminds us that moments of transcendence can be reached by tuning into the current situation , by sharpening our critical capacity. It takes us through submerged vistas, the ephemeral beaches of the Thames, to a shoreline of exquisite assembly.