- 22 Feb 23
The track 'Serrated Dream’ began as just that – a dream – where a floating saw appears in a woodland setting. "The artwork idea was created before the track was written,” David Rooney says, explaining the background to the latest music and video from Echotal.
Echotal – the collaborative vehicle established by David Rooney and Torsten Kinsella of God Is An Astronaut – have released a new single. An instrumental, the track is accompanied by a remarkable video, shot using a Victorian camera lens.
This new release is the first of two new instrumentals by the duo, marking a deeper collaboration between the God Is An Astronaut composer, guitarist and producer and David Rooney, under the Echotal banner. Along with producing and mixing duties, Torsten wrote and played both acoustic and electric guitar parts. He is joined on the track by his brother and Co-GIAA founder Niels Kinsella on bass.
Torsten sees the emphasis on instrumentals as key to this Echotal release.
“With the first EP, I felt – by the end – that we may have strayed too far away from the original concept by adding in the vocal songs. To me, they didn’t mix effectively with the instrumentals – it was two totally different styles, aimed at totally different audiences.
“I feel that ‘Serrated Dream’ gets us back into the right frame. It works as a follow up to Echotal’s original single ‘Glencoe’. Towards the end of the recording, we added bass guitar to give the instrumentals a bit more weight – but it was important for it not be too busy and to honour the minimalist approach we had taken. Niels instinctively knew what was needed.
"When we had finished recording and mixing the two new instrumentals,” he adds, "it was obvious that we had to go back and revisit ‘Melting Ice’ and ‘Glencoe’, where we also added bass guitar and gave them a fresh new mix.”
Echotal is an evolving new adventure for Rooney, who also has a celebrated background in visual art.
“Working with Torsten over the last couple of years, I have learned so much musically,” David says. "I think we are distilling what Echotal could be with every new release.”
The video for ’Serrated Dream’ is a unique extension of the song's musical impulse. The extraordinary look of the video was created using a custom-built camera, designed and constructed by Guy Bellingham FRSP – an exceptional UK-based fine art portrait photographer.
“I approached Guy about doing a video,” David recalls. “He had responded favourably to an earlier Echotal release ‘Endless’, produced by Snow Ghosts, who as it turned out, were old neighbours of his in Bristol.
“Guy is a former circus performer, who is now an award-winning photographer making extraordinary Victorian style tintype portraits. As it turned out Guy was experimenting with video using those very lenses, so we were able to tap into that.”
Guy explains the technicalities.
"About the size of a small fridge, the lens works on the principle of a camera obscura. It projects an image onto a large white screen inside the camera. This projected image is then captured with a digital camera. Approached in this way, a very thin depth of focus is achieved, leading to images that are enormously evocative and other-worldly. Additionally I was able to use a huge brass petzval lens from 1850 to further enhance the unearthly, dreamlike feel of the footage.”
The addition of dance brings another aesthetic dimension to the project.
“Originally the video concept was just the saw and a vintage nightdress,” David says. “Then, at Guy’s invitation, dancer Dani Tonks arrived to the project and the video became a much more expressive canvas. Dani has a very immersive approach and even her smallest movements reflect this."
Dani is a performer and movement practitioner, whose work is known for its playful, pleasure-focussed expressiveness.
“Bringing David’s music to life through movement and imagery with Guy felt like a meta dance experience,” Dani says. "It was an honour to co-create such a beautiful piece together.”
Rooney comes back to the origins of the music as a response to a dream.
“It’s hard to describe the excitement of seeing a track that started out as an acoustic sketch inspired by a dream becoming this rich tapestry of film, dance and music collaboration. I’m so very grateful to all involved.”
Finally, it turned out that along with his array of other talents Mr. Bellingham is, of all things, a fine saw player. His saw-playing features on the track, giving an added otherworldliness to the mix.
"You couldn’t dream it up,” David Rooney concludes. Then again, maybe you could...
Take a look at the video for 'Serrated Dream' below:
Listen to the track on Spotify: