Gazelle Twin is the moniker of producer, composer and industrial pop maverick, Elizabeth Bernholz. A solo artist through and through, Bernholz rarely works out of her cloistered, digital home studio. Now, Bernholz breaks cover ahead of Visions Festival staged across six venues in Hackney to tell us about the artists who have helped her discover her unique musical voice and her love of the extreme.
She will be in good company on festival day, as she joins fellow British noise provocateurs Blanck Mass and Luke Abbott at the Hackney party to unleash all sonic hell on the unholy gathering set for August 8.
The Brighton-based artist cemented her place in the world of unnerving and challenging musicians with last year’s remarkable second album Unflesh, which kicked off some proper touring and heavy headlines as she revelled in her love of Cronenberg-esque creepy music.
But with a love of Throbbing Gristle and Paula Temple, it’s clear that she compromises for no one. So here are Bernholz’s thoughts on five albums/EPs that she reveals have been on repeat while she toured recently:
I’m mostly useless at finding new music and making the effort to listen to it. I get sent or given things all the time, and sometimes it takes me months to get around to listening to them.
My day job is composing and listening, so I have become pretty precious about what I ‘let in’ when I’m not in the studio. Usually, silence or reliable disco classics are all I really want…
During the last 12 months I have been travelling continuously all over the planet for shows. I’ve taken around 50 or more flights in the last nine months, along with trains, boats, taxis and road trips.
During these times I do most of my listening and tend to opt for one song or album on repeat – either to help me get to sleep, or to keep my mood levels controlled – sort of like cruise-control for my soul. The best music for my sensibilities generally, is minimal, industrial music, techno and bass. It opens up a range of experiences – ranging from the obvious adrenalin, slightly fear-fuelled moments to something far more meditative and life-affirming.
PAULA TEMPLE – DEATHVOX EP
Paula’s music is huge and relentless. Her kicks are like Death knocking on your door. I really love her skilled and nuanced blend between noise, silence and heart-busting techno. This super-charged EP from last year is perfect listening for when I travel because it gives the experience of being hurled through space in metal machines an added thrill when everything around you continuously tells you to RELAX or buy shit. Why relax when you can get high on the life-affirming adrenaline of your body travelling at 600mph in sub-zero temperatures above the clouds?
THROBBING GRISTLE – 20 JAZZ FUNK GREATS
As a classic, staple industrial album, this hasn’t been off my personal stereo for over a year at least. I often have ‘Beachy Head’ on repeat for a bit of pensive calm. Yeah that’s right, I listen to Throbbing Gristle to be calm. But really I think music like this, and many would say the same goes for metal, has the reverse effect of its otherwise unruly elements. I find music like this to be transcendental, similar to how choral music and some classical music also makes me feel.
DEAN BLUNT & INGA COPELAND – THE ATTITUDE ERA
Dean Blunt is probably the most intriguing producer and live performer I can think of. He’s always up there with my top influences and favourite artists, though I still haven’t seen him perform live. He’s created this legend around himself which both bewilders me and frightens me, and that’s a great power to have over people. You can’t engineer it. It has to be in your soul. And I think his the music he makes gets this across in spades. Inga Copeland’s presence adds a completely new dimension to it as well. I often listen to the noise track ‘Attitude Adjustment’ on repeat as it blends really nicely on loop and is great for those nights I can’t sleep well.
SPACEAPE & KODE9 – THE KILLING SEASON EP
This is a massively overlooked EP which came out last year on Hyperdub. It was The Spaceape’s last release before he passed away last year, just months after I met him to discuss collaborating. It was a project I was more excited about than anything I’ve ever done. Together with a link to his favourite Prince biography, he sent the EP to me a few months before it was released and I immediately fell in love with ‘Chasing A Beast’. Stephen channelled the nightmare of suffering persistent cancer and treatment into this and his previous EP, Xorcism, which had a huge influence on me in 2013. But despite his anguish, you can really hear the fight he had in him. Respect.
PERC – THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Ali is another powerhouse British producer, who makes my favourite kind of skeletal techno. I loved getting my teeth into this album earlier this year. ‘Take Your Body Off’ and ‘Dumpster’ are both at once fearsome and psychotic, but dead satisfying and air-punching. I also love the eerie field recording/noise elements like ‘Horse Gum’ too. It’s one of those perfectly balanced records you could keep on loop forever and hear something new with each rotation.