DAMSEL ELYSIUM, an ethereal & fearless approach to artistic expression, Charlie Clark, δημοσίευση CLOT Magazine [11/2/2023]
Catching a glimpse of the ethereal Damsel Elysium, you’re transported to an otherworldly realm full of flowers and ruffles. Despite their ornate, decorative style, they have a quiet stillness. Stillness and quiet pervade Damsel’s music, whose experience of being neurodivergent informs their work and what they want to communicate to their audience.
Lyrical and romantic expression is also at the heart of the avant-garde artist’s musical and visual art practice. Vogue has described them as ‘London’s Most Stylish Experimental Sound Artist’, and they recently featured in FKA Twigs’ Tiny Desk session, which are sure signs that this artist is destined for big things.
Working through experimental sound, fashion and visual arts, Damsel create worlds within worlds to render the most accessible experience possible for their audience. But they don’t enforce anything on their audiences, who can take what they will from their art and performances. As an introvert, seeing another quiet soul take up space in such luscious, colourful and sculpted ways is inspiring. The belief that you don’t need to be the loudest in the room to draw attention to your work makes Damsel an unusual figure in the contemporary scene.
Their interest in creating silence and stillness within music spaces points to an exciting new direction for the industry, one where care and a slower approach might be taken more seriously. Creating spaces for stillness is integral to their work to counter the crazy stimulating experiences of everyday city life.
Damsel’s recent single, Echoes of Lalia, was released as part of SA Recordings’ series The Hearing Experience, which invited experimental artists to explore their relationship with the act of listening. The title is a play on words of echolalia, meaning to repeat words or sounds one hears. The track builds on Damsel’s experience of being neurodivergent in our busy world. Using the double bass, violin, and original field recordings, Damsel weaves worlds of sound that centre nature and our connection.
This March, Damsel will perform at the Southbank Centre with the London Contemporary Orchestra as a part of Purcell Sessions, with costumes designed in response to their EP by emerging costume designer India Ayles.
Calling themselves tree whisperers and threading their interest in nature’s mysteries throughout the work, Damsel question how nature ever got pushed to the sidelines in the first place. Fascinated by alternative forms of communication and ancient ways of connecting to the earth, Damsel Elysium bring a nostalgic and holistic approach to artistic production.
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