"Doomsayer" by Ace AmbroseReview
It is always exciting to review a new Ace Ambrose release & today really is no exception to that pattern.
She is one of the most radical of local musicians, in terms of sound, concept, lyrical themes & in placing her work within wider frameworks & meanings.
Whether it was her song "Two Souls Apart" set in the context of the "Front Room Sessions: The Visual Album" project or perhaps even more so "Resuscitate Me!" her exciting collaboration with Katie Walters, (to name but two of her recent records), each Ace release is both a surprise & a mental stimulant.
Now we have "Doomsayer", released on November 5th as a single & as a taster for an album called 'Doomsday Was Yesterday', a conceptual collection "..set in an Orwellian dystopia in a parallel 2020, not so different from our own, a virus has devastated the world and the UK has fallen under totalitarian regime surveilled and controlled by the government watchdog Division8".
Within this framework Ace (and let's remember that "Ace Ambrose" is herself an artistic construct/persona) introduces a new aspect of herself as "Gal Fawkes", "…an anarchic freedom fighting musician, filled with fear for the future of humanity. She is labelled and dismissed as a fear mongering doomsayer but remains intent on exposing corruption within the system and warning people of the ruling elite's biggest secret: that the destruction of earth is closer than they've let on".
Channelling such a lot of complex ideas dating back to at least the seventeenth century & bringing it right bang up to date, intellectually George Orwell is an important influence as well as the 1605 activists & one might discern traces of the revelations of Naomi Klein & the imagery of "V For Vendetta" too.
There is an eerie prescience throughout too as Ace actually began both this song & the album long before COVID19 reared its head, though forces we can imagine mean that it was actually constructed wholly by herself at home, neatly mirroring what we can picture a clandestine, guerrilla musician having to do in the world she has imagined for us.
As "….a warning of a potential future, the celebration of individuality and humanity and a rebellion against all forms of corruption, preaching love in the face of hate", "Doomsayer" is as spiky & arresting as you can imagine from all I've written above. A stunning apocalyptic collage which truly sounds like what you might hear coming over an illegal radio in your bunker, tuning into banned pirate broadcasts: distorted, swathed in cacophonic wreathes of sound, like all Ace Ambrose music there was no compromise used in the recording. In feel & tone it also brought hints to my mind of Steve Earle's "The Revolution Starts Now".
The percussion alone provides a sense of doom being said & above that hangs (often by its finger nails), layers of anguished vocals & clashing instrumentation, wailing & railing against the situation, but crucially, as I have said, not without positivity as an antidote to what she is preaching against. This is a stunning artefact & if the context seems fantastic & fictional on the surface, you should plunge deeper into it because it channels great truths which affect our lives right now. This is a call to arms: and not necessarily confined to the usual meaning of the term. This is inspiration.
Given the extraordinary depth of hinterland Ace has created for this project, you will not be surprised to learn that it has burst out of the single format across a range of media. Listen out for Gal Fawkes on Ace's radio show "The Amp" on Rhino Radio (rhinoradio.co.uk) and she is also "building a physical world in which people can immerse themselves, using social media platforms for the tyrannical Division 8"
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