Exquisite Corpse

by The Mortlake Bookclub

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'You know what the problem is with modern music? There’s not enough secret societies, gathering in the shadows to make deliciously dismal sounds, which they then unleash upon a world which… well, you can fill in your own blanks. And it’s about time we said enough is enough. About time we joined the Mortlake Bookclub. Who may be a bunch of avid readers who meet every Wednesday night in a corner of southwest London, to discuss the latest Scandinavian murder mystery. Or may not. Because all we really know about them are four unrepentant slabs of echoing dissonance and mystery that find the middle ground between folk, electronics and the ghostly sounds of shortwave radio, and then stir them into something that sounds nothing like any of them. Spoken word tells stories that you may or may not want to listen to, and the night rides in on wired electric broomsticks. And the cowled and darkened figures, bookclubbers one and all, drift out of unearthly earshot as the final echo turns the page, and yes. Your bookmark did just bite you.' (Dave Thompson, Goldmine Magazine)

'The Mortlake Bookclub are a shadowy collective whose first release on the brilliant Reverb Worship label is “inspired and directed by the surrealist parlour game Exquisite Corpse” wherein each collaborator adds to the previous person’s output. One of these members is Melmoth the Wanderer. Add to the mix a reading group centred around Dr. Dee’s library and surrealism, and you won’t be surprised to hear I was hooked immediately. Opener, ‘The Sexton’s Dream’ sets the phantasmagoric tone beautifully: hazed and throbbed electrics, distanciated plucking and a spoken sample that is as threatening as it is cautionary. And it’s this sample that places the Exquisite Corpse squarely in a spectral rurality, where half-glimpsed simulacrums spook and uncanny survivals pervade. ‘Live Deliciously’ has ritual purpose. And I say this in a the same way an archaeologist digs into the land, finds something that can only be surmised as significant, and deems it a ritual object. Here this translates into a vague sense and aural awareness of a ceremonial performance whose importance and meaning is both enlivened and obscured by a resonant dissonance and distant chants. Only a tolling bell gives some clarity that a ritual is happening or has happened here. And no amount of polishing your obsidian stone will allow a clearer view. With its swirling strings and baritone spoken word, ‘Exquisite Corpse’ could not be more haunting. The reversed voices, the shards of whispered narration, the funereal atmosphere – it’s definitively one of the heart-rending and poignant pieces of music I’ve heard in years. In short, it’s incredible. Final piece ‘The Trial of Margaret Brown’ tells of witchcraft and cunning folk, and brilliantly envelopes and haunts like its predecessors.' (Both Bars On)

‘Exquisite Corpse’ is the debut gathering from folk known only The Mortlake Bookclub, sound alchemists exchanging musical notations in secret hideaways veiled beneath the safe cover of night. The first fruits of these hushed gatherings with the blessing and guidance of reverb worship has been pressed up on CD to be issued in a strictly limited outing of just 50 numbered copies. Upon these discs sit four errie overtures ‘The Sexton’s Dream’ opens the account, a haunting fog bound drone mirage amid who mystic mists reflections of past impressions of rustic folk posies replay upon an endless loop momentarily occasioned by the doomy chill shrilled gong of a church bell, very remote and somewhat ghosted by the macabre melodics of Brit horror ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’. Chilled in much the same remote unease 'Live Deliciously’ emerges like an apocalyptic herald sent ahead to warn civilisation of the onset of the revelations scriptures – an eerie calm before some celestial storm. We mentioned ‘Exquisite Corpse’ in the aforementioned previous citations – still sounds bitter sweetly torn yet quietly majestic and melancholic as the sighing strings wallow at the fading vision that was once this as the stars slowly begin to go out. Bringing up the rear is ‘The Trial of Margaret Brown’ exerts a bleakly foreboding ghost light haze upon the listening space, it hollowing resonance not unlike the sounds emanating from the out there ‘stone tape’ spectrums of both Roadside Picnic and the Revenant Sea all the time stilled in silvery shimmer toning radiophonic echoes.' (The Sunday Experience)


released October 10, 2016

The Mortlake Book Club were and are; Antony Ralph Wealls, Darren Charles, Grey Malkin and Melmoth The Wanderer. All tracks were begun by individual members of the Bookclub and, inspired and directed by the surrealist parlour game Exquisite Corpse, were then added to by the others without knowledge of what each was contributing.

Mastered by JC Blackley Industries.



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The Mortlake Bookclub UK

The Mortlake Book Club were, are and will always be; Antony Ralph Wealls, Darren Charles, Grey Malkin and Melmoth The Wanderer.

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