VISITATIONS IV - 140 gram Galaxy Vinyl LP
Marielle Allschwang & The Visitations’ newest full-length, VISITATIONS IV, is pressed in sumptuous 140-gram purple-and-black galaxy vinyl. Includes digital download card for album + bonus tracks. Released May 8th, 2019, in a limited edition of 250. Recorded and mixed by Jaime Hansen at the Chair Company (Milwaukee, WI), Hansen residence, and Allschwang residence, summer 2017. Mastered by Todd Rittmann. LP design by Shawn Stephany.
Marielle Allschwang’s newest full-length, VISITATIONS IV, is haunted by hungry ghosts. An eyeless giant sleepwalks through a tumultuous landscape amongst routinely- appointed masters, desirous earth-cullers, and hope-hoarding vampires. These ghosts, and the agrarian world surrounding them, have traveled over from Allschwang’s 2015 debut, Dead Not Done (“Monsters,” “Farmer,” "Your Mother"), emerged into view, and multiplied to appear as ubiquitous in the album as they are in life. But haloed around these adversaries are odes and chants, hypnotic regressions and guided meditations, prayers and invocations.
It is unclear throughout the record whether the speaker is one of these nefarious specters, Allschwang herself, or another quoted source. For instance, “Open Your Gifts” (the original working title for the album) nods to a historical tug-o-war over images, words, and ideologies: Allschwang borrows and imitates quotes from a Maoist handbook, and collages them with a discarded song by Visitations member Adam Krause and Allschwang’s intimate reflections on her own remembered experiences.
During the course of writing this collection of songs, Allschwang played a fundraiser for water protectors in the Standing Rock High School auditorium and attended two Social Ecology conferences in Oslo, immersed herself in countless collaborations with such artists as Klassik and Chris Rosenau (Collections of Colonies of Bees, Volcano Choir), executed vocals and instrumentation in projects led by Jon Mueller (Death Blues, Volcano Choir) and Joe Westerlund (Megafaun), recorded a new album with Hello Death, created new material with Collections of Colonies of Bees, and, with the then-19-piece Group of the Altos (who enlisted her at a solo show in Milwaukee in 2010), recorded R U Person or Not and co-wrote/performed in an original live score to Alexandr Dovzhenko's Zemlya (Earth) before that formative and much-loved project came to a close.
It was only after Dead Not Done was complete that a band ever performed those songs in their finished form. But the band she put together to perform them, consisting of Kavi Laud (drums, vocals), Ken Palme (guitar), Nathaniel Heuer (bass, guitar, vocals), and Adam Krause (guitar, musical saw, vocals), quickly grew into a formidable live unit. In fact, the band became such a band that Allschwang dedicated an entirely new approach to VISITATIONS IV. The band learned the songs, played them live, played them loud, and came to know the material backward and forward before ever stepping into the studio with engineer Jaime Hansen. And when they recorded, it was together in one room, with their microphones bleeding into each other and not a metronome in sight.
In VISITATIONS IV, Allschwang channels her ecological concerns, celebration of camaraderie, and growing sense of personal agency into an album that ranges from pummeling to diaphanous, foreboding to triumphant. It is woven with Allschwang’s formative influences and exemplars: Led Zeppelin, Fugazi, George Gurdjieff, Kate Bush’s The Dreaming, Alvin Lucier, and most of all, her fellow band mates with whom she’s been making music for over a decade and who join her from their own musical backgrounds in warding off the hungry ghosts.
Allschwang’s “Marcus & Ramona/Married” ep, released in June 2018, was recorded in the same session at Milwaukee’s Chair Company with Jaime Hansen. That single (included in the digital download for VISITATIONS IV) and this forthcoming LP document a songwriter and her band honing their focus and collaborative powers.
Copyright Bitter Sea Recordings 2019.