Approaching the idea of genre as something to be not so much challenged as utterly ignored, British-Venezuelan singer and pianist Javier Wallis is the mastermind behind Wilderness Hymnal, a project which gifted the world the marvellous Anthropocene just a few months ago now. The album explores themes of ecological and emotional harm through an original coming together of post-rock, psychedelia, dream pop and emotive piano. The transcendent result, dubbed “psychedelic heavy piano music” (or “death piano”) by its creator, is thoroughly unique and consistently captivating.
Album track ‘Altar’ is a true standout, drifting through soundscapes that prove eerie, majestic and poignant in equal measure. The accompanying video, available to view now exclusively through Astral Noize, offers a unique visual feast, seeing Wallis perform in a magnificent costume co-designed by drag artist Eva Serration, and including some stunning hallucinatory scenery as well as touches of violence. The track features Michael Kelly and John Simm on guitar/bass and drums respectively, whilst the video was directed by Wallis and Samuel Andrew Fenton – scroll down to view it in its entirety.
“‘Altar’ is the first song I wrote for the record,” Javier explains. “And while it’s one of the most personal on it, the video takes an opposing tack. The song is about finding yourself – condensing years of my own depression, burnout and breakdown into a moment, and instead of self-destructing, choosing to light a spark of courage to blow the whole thing wide open. Being in wild spaces, away from the pollution and noise, helps to find clarity like this. The video works in contrast – it’s about loss, and the true cost we face to regain any kind of freedom. There are layers, but the symbolism has its own message.”
Wilderness Hymnal will be performing at the White Hotel in Salford on the 28th March.
Words: George Parr (@GeorgeJParr)