It's really worth buying the t-shirt
Sunday is an oven. For any festivalgoers who mistakenly trusted the weather forecast before their arrival in Dorset a few days ago, the colourful assortments of wool and corduroy make even the simplest task of lying down on the grass a heavy undertaking. But the programmers have a figurative ace up their long-sleeved jackets. The same card was played last year when deathcrash’s wall-of-sound obliterated our last-day lethargies. Now, it’s the turn of Divide and Dissolve to hit us with enough noise that we forget about our discomfort.
Four rows of stacked-high amps join the duo on stage, operating as the optical frontperson more times than not, while guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Takiaya Reed contentedly wanders into the stage’s corners, fixing her attention to drummer Scarlett Shred, who’s taken over the project’s live duties from Sylvie Nehill since the release of their latest album Systemic. The amps seem underused as Reed trills a gorgeous clarinet loop over hundreds of glistening faces, but it becomes apparent very quickly that those of us misguided enough to enter this big blue pressure cooker of a festival tent will be witnessing some of the most urgent music of the weekend: terrified and terrifying.
“I’d like to acknowledge the sacred land we’re standing on,” says Reed, in an appeal to give back the land taken from indigenous people. With the next sentence, she completes the hardest merch sell of the weekend, appealing to anyone who wants a t-shirt that might offend their racist grandparents. “These songs don’t have words but there’s a lot of meaning within them.” It’s not something she needed to clarify whether or not you know her Cherokee heritage; while much of the set plays on variations of one note, Divide and Dissolve’s droning doom-metal come post-rock has the density of mercury. Everything conflates with the soul-crushing ‘Indignation’, a call for decolonization, the destruction of white supremacy, and liberation from oppressive structures.
But this is by no means a sermon – these are songs carved from total love and grief. As the set comes to a close, poet and frequent D&D collaborator Minori Sanchiz-Fung joins them on stage having made the flight from North Carolina especially. The last song’s the heaviest, the amps only doing the work for their full paycheque. It’s the kind of noise that forces a total cleanse – a utopia sound. Wherever this band appears next, you should go there, see it and buy the t-shirt.
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