dave phillips - humanity is the virus

tape / digital, 2021, Tribe Tapes, Raleigh.   Available

edition of 50

Dp humanity is the virus

Dp humanity is the virus ocard


It must be a good ten or so years since I’ve last heard anything from radical, at times deranged and downright gut-wrenching sound maker Dave Philllips. And I must say this C32/ digital download rather surprised me, as instead of the normal sickly ‘n’ unsettling sound art I’m used to hearing from Mr Phillips. What we get here are two (relatively) formal songs, with real instrumentation/ choirs, and a very horror fed vibe- which for some reason keeps recalling Dario Argento’s three mother’s trilogy- well at least the first two chapters 1977’s Suspiria, and 1980 Inferno.
The release appeared on North Carolina based Tribe Tapes early summer of this year. With the black shelled and labelled on one sides tape appearing in a glossy black card slip sleeve, which on its front cover features a coloured collage illustration of a city engulfed by huge flames. Sadly, the tape is now out of print, with only a download available- but I’d say still check it out, as what’s presented on Humanity Is The Virus is a rather captivatingly nightmarish and unsettling audio experience.
First up we have the releases title track- and this slides in at the fifteen minute and five second’s mark. The track begins with a blend of tensely sawing string work and rabid blacked metal like barks and bays. As the track moves on deep dread soaked choirs are added its edges, as are touches of bow bass tones. By the seventh minute, we get very subtle darts of piano playing and higher like simmer choir tones- these are added to the now eerier vocal barks and distant shouts, which are blended with the simmering horn background and general end of the world ritual feel.
Second and lastly, we have “Sars-cov-2 is a vaccine” this runs at just over the fourteen-and-a-half-minute mark. To start with we find blackly dense haka like chanting, with an undercurrent of simmer string work, and weird blacked beast-like growls ‘n’ roars. At around the two-minute mark, we get more pronounced guttural like speaking’s- with the background of now going off-key manic string saws and layers of growling ebb seemingly weaving dense and denser. By the sixth minute things thin back somewhat so we just have the now manic haka chant, been blended with moody string simmers, hints of choirs, and general grimly atmospheric/ slightly ritual undertones.
Humanity Is The Virus neatly sidesteps any one genre label- been a sort of nightmarish highbred of malevolent string and damned choir scoring, BM vocalising, grim-to-darkly manic chant based soundscaping, and general end of the world sonics. If you’d like to step into this simmer and horror fed sonic world yourself- follow this link to Tribe Tapes here.

(Roger Batty, Musique Machine, September 2021)