VANISHED IN TRANISTION
Ritual Cloak take a more introspective and meditative direction with new EP, Vanished in Transition, venturing into new musical territories that draw influence from ambient, jazz, doom metal and George Harrison’s indian explorations. Leaning into down-tempo rhythms, drums have been exchanged for heart-beats, as if this EP is the duo breathing deep in readiness to face the next chapter.
Featuring Rob Smith of Wonderbrass and Wylderness bandmate, Harri Rees (Vanished in Transition) and Karl Griffiths of Morning Arcade (Half of My Life), Vanished in Transition showcases Ritual Cloak’s continued love of collaboration.
Recorded at home and their own studio in Cardiff, Vanished in Transition’s theme plays with the fascination of disappearing, although the duo have no such plans of vanishing any time soon.
Shell is about being in a dream where you’re constantly searching for someone but never quite finding them. It’s an idea that’s been floating around for a few years and gone through a number of different versions before becoming what it is now.
Originally Shell was written for acoustic guitar and had a completely different feel. Dan remembers re-listening to Metals by Feist and being inspired by the dramatic intimacy of the album, leading to Shell being rewritten for piano. When the song was brought to the studio Sanders suggested taking the vocals outside of the usual comfort zone. The inspiration for this method of production was taken from Bon Iver and Mogwai, experimenting with vocoder and the deliberate use of autotune for the first time. As a result the song entered new musical territories, and served as a reminder to the band that there are no rules in what they do.
WITAJ W DOMU
Witaj w Domu was recorded during the Divine Invasions sessions, but it felt like the track deserved to stand alone. Having been inspired by Iwanowski’s photographic project, Go Home Polish, Ritual Cloak composed a piece of music in response, inviting Iwanowski to contribute spoken word, drawn from writings of his 1900km journey between his two homes - Wales and Poland. Michal narrates three stories, all different, yet all similar and asks, just like the photographic project, where is home? The answer is elusive and complex, a riddle that transcends time and administration. This is hiraeth. This is heimet. Home.
Witaj w Domu will be available on all streaming services via Bubblewrap Collective on Friday, 1 April and presented in three different versions, in English, Polish and instrumental.
"Really, really fascinating, seriously affecting. Beautifully atmospheric" - Adam Walton, BBC Radio Wales
"Very powerful" - Huw Stephens, BBC Radio Cymru
A HUMAN BEING IS THE BEST DISGUISE
‘A Human Being Is The Best Disguise’ is a reworking of Ritual Cloak’s debut release, with new lyrics and vocals by writer, comedian and spoken word performer Autumn Juvenile. All lyrics are a mix of real-life lies, workplace gossip, online flirtations and (most unforgivably) pure imagination. They were written on stifling summer nights working in secure mental health units across Cardiff, in between rolling cigarettes for rapists.
This is music you can smugly share on your social media; working class fictions for middle class listeners.
"An Intriguing Collaboration" - Adam Walton, BBC Radio Wales
"Moving" - Circuit Sweet
"Powerful" - Godisinthetvzine
ORANGE CRUSH (R.E.M. COVER)
At the end of July Godisinthetvzine celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the start of R.E.M.'s recording career with a week of coverage. To round off the celebrations, on 20 August the compilation entitled A Carnival of Sorts: A compilation of R.E.M. covers by various artists was released exclusively on Bandcamp to raise money for Help Musicians. The album included an original take on Orange Crush by Ritual Cloak, which later received a wider release through Bubblewrap Collective.
"Intoxicating and enveloping" - Godisinthetvzine
Work on Divine Invasions began as soon as the first album had been finished back in September 2019. The first album saw sparing use of guitar, instead mainly writing around piano. When it came to writing the second we didn’t want to fall into the same routine, choosing to embrace exploring new sounds, experiment with new effects, making guitars sound like synths and using vocals for the first time. The album began taking shape at our studio in Cardiff, but lock-down forced us to work separately, and in a very different manner than before. However, this change of circumstance proved extremely fruitful, and has resulted in a collection of songs that would otherwise have not come together had we continued to work in their traditional ways. The title Divine Invasions is inspired by the Philip K Dick biography. Dick was plagued by nervous breakdowns and driven to near insanity by visions of God.
'Very atmospheric. It's a really impressive debut!" - Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 6 Music
"A colourful, very bright, illuminating album. It offers glimpses of beauty in the harshness of the world around us" - Running Punks
"Pure, exhilarating joy" - Buzz Magazine
"It's an impressive and cinematic kaleidoscope scope of affecting sounds" - Godisinthetvzine
I LAWR YMHLITH Y TYWYLLWCH
I Lawr Ymhlith Y Tywyllwch was the first new material from Ritual Cloak following the release of their 2019 self-titled debut album. Originally composed as part of the creative community project, The Girl Who Wouldn’t Give Up, the track takes the current climate crisis and impending risks to nature as its thematic core.
Echoing the ancient Welsh legend of the Afanc, a monster that floods and destroys the land, I Lawr Ymhlith Y Tywyllwch translates as ‘Down Amongst The Darkness’ and draws on the urgent need for communities to act together to curb our environmental decline.
I Lawr Ymhlith Y Tywyllwch revisits and rebuilds the glacial sonic wizardry of their debut brick-by-brick, glitch-by-glitch. The single was digitally released on 25 November 2020 through Bubblewrap Collective with support coming from Stuart Maconie on BBC Radio 6 Music.
RITUAL CLOAK REMIXED
During the recording process we realised the potential for the tracks on Ritual Cloak to be remixed or reimagined. We invited some of our favourite artists from Wales and further afield to collaborate on Ritual Cloak Remixed, including contributions from Charlie Francis, Tom Ellis and CrashDisco as well as striking reworkings from Minas and Time Destroys All Things.
With its head in the city but heart in the mountains, Ritual Cloak encapsulates the need to escape the modern trappings of city living and embrace the call of the hills. We are extremely fortunate to live in such a beautiful country as Wales. Its landscape has a major influence on the sound of the album, which we recorded at our studio in Cardiff with mastering by Charlie Francis. The cover art was designed by Jude Lau of The Printhaus by feeding audio of the entire album through a needle, drawing out a non-linear pattern onto a copper plate, effectively creating a unique work of art in direct response to the album.