Cobalt Chapel were formed in late 2014, by London based vocalist and actress Cecilia Fage (Matt Berry & The Maypoles) and Sheffield based musician Jarrod Gosling (I Monster and Regal Worm). Following the recording of their debut album they were asked by Andy Votel to play their first show at this year’s Festival No 6.
The sounds and textures on this debut are captivating and atmospheric, conjured up from vintage organs and effects, vintage drums and drum machines, fused together with Cecilia’s distinctive English lead and layered vocals.
The album explores imagined scenarios, finding inspiration in folklore, 1960’s and 70’s science fiction and horror (‘Black Eyes’ tells the story from the point of view of a ‘Stepford wife’ in the original film) as well as personal experience.
As they continued recording, they found a way to bring in other genres such as choral music that you can hear in their version of English composer John Tavener’s ‘The Lamb’, and the collaboration with actor Paul Putner, who wrote the lyrics to ‘Horratia’, the story of an ageing horror B-movie actress.
Cobalt Chapel began as an idea from Jarrod Gosling when he was on his daily run around the Damflask reservoir in Sheffield. He wanted to create a new, eerie psychedelic project, with sounds and effects generated solely from organs and drums, with no guitars or synthesizers – a departure from his other groups I Monster and Regal Worm.
He wanted to work with a female, folk-led vocalist and when he saw Cecilia Fage live thought she would make the perfect psychedelic companion.
Cecilia had been working on Matt Berry’s albums, and others, over a number of years – singing, arranging choral vocals and playing woodwind. She had a sense of creative urgency due to the approaching arrival of her twins; it felt like the perfect moment to work on a new project.
Their first chat turned into a long conversation about their shared interests – musical influences from Jarrod’s obsessive love of progressive rock, to Cecilia’s taste in English folk – converging somewhere between Egg and Fotheringay. A mutual love of dark, surreal TV and film from the 20th century, folk tales, sci-fi, and strange phenomena which informs the eerie, haunting feel to their music.
We Come Willingly
2. Fruit Falls From The Apple Tree
3. Ava Gardner
4. Who Are The Strange
5. Crestone Ridge
6. The Lamb
7. Black Eyes
8. Singing Camberwell Beauty
12. Positive Negative
13. Three Paths Charm
Orange Synthetic – Vinyl (Signed)
Cobalt Chapel release ‘Orange Synthetic’, the follow-up to their much lauded self-titled debut album and its companion piece ‘Variants’. ‘Orange Synthetic’ is an exploration of the epic county they call home, Yorkshire. Written during this tumultuous turn of the decade, it is inspired by the humanity, anecdotes and folklore of the region, and the surrounding landscape.
The album delves into stories which exist at the edge of history and myth: the drowning of a village under Lake Semerwater, the mystery of the lost geodesic domes of RAF Fylingdales, the fate of John Hotham of Hull, beheaded for treason during the English Civil War, a psychedelic folk song about an infamous Cragg Vale farmer killed in a fight over a flock of sheep, the cry of Skylarks over Erringden Moor.
The album’s name stems from a line in the title track, telling the story of the fateful Yorkshire Folk, Blues & Jazz Festival in Krumlin, fifty years ago. Hit by a violent storm, it resulted in the devastation of the site, near-deaths from exposure and the promoter being found wandering the moors, days later.
Cobalt Chapel’s atmospheric style remains distinctively their own, through Cecilia Fage’s crisp English vocals and choral arrangements, and Jarrod Gosling’s use of organs such as the Vox Continental, Philicorda, and the USSR-era Elektronika Organ. These are the foundations of their rich, experimental yet melodic sound, and this album sees them expand on it with the addition of mandolin, guitars, and drawing on Cecilia’s classical background, with clarinets and recorders.
“‘Orange Synthetic’ is music grounded in the Yorkshire earth: its people, the surrounding nature, landscape, and its mythology, from the distant past to modern life. The story of the Krumlin Festival captures something about this island in its disaster – how you can start out with a dream and end up wrapped in a survival blanket, suffering from exposure, on a wild, beautiful, unforgiving Pennine hillside. It’s an image which reflects the lost, end-of-days feeling of where we’re at now.”