Released 03 December 2021
Castles in Space announces first ever vinyl release for Mordant Music’s landmark 2006 release “Dead Air”. Remastered for vinyl with all new artwork from Admiral Greyscale.
Baron Mordant is always present but slightly elusive – not so much hidden as just lurking in the shadows. Remarkably individual, Dead Air sounds like a surreal car crash between Saint Etienne and Throbbing Gristle with the warm tones of Phillip Elsmore taking the place of Cracknell/Orridge. A Proustian madelaine to a particular generation if ever there was one, Elsmore had worked as the voice of Thames TV across the 70s and 80s and his instantly recognisable voice being dropped into this electronic hall of mirrors still plays havoc with your brain. Dead Air’s loose concept of a dead TV station was embellished with a unique design concept from Admiral Greyscale that played with 70s iconography (bizarre wallpaper, the Magpie logo and so on).
Jonny Mugwump, Fact Magazine
“Dead air” is what broadcasters are supposed to avoid at all costs, what continuity personnel are employed to plug up with pleasantries. Mordant’s fascination with that lost figure, the TV announcer, led them to track down Philip Elsmore, whose warm, soothing tones will be recognizable to anyone who grew up in the UK in the 1970s from his work for ITV regional franchises like Tyne Tees and Thames. The duo persuaded Elsmore to come out of retirement and provided continuity for Dead Air, his reassuring voice applied to an increasingly bizarre series of utterances, from "apologies for the sundry glitches… in the meantime, keep your nerve" to “the following contains graphic scenes of a strobing magpie's wing" to “keep sporing in the nessst”. Near the CD’s end, Elsmore declares that "Mordant Music will be back once the dust has settled with more vague unpleasantness.”
“A mild sense of apprehension is actually far more acute than out-and-out drama,” says Greyscale. “It’s everyday, what the Mordant virus feeds on.”
“Musty” is a big Mordant buzzword. Dead Air sounds like early ‘90s UK techno gone to seed, the pristine electronic surfaces mottled with mold. Baron Mordant, the main music man, has a long history of involvement with post-rave and post-industrial dance, most recently associated with the reformed Portion Control, and prior to that making records under various names for 400 Blows’ label Concrete Production, Orbital's Internal imprint, and Leftfield’s Hard Hands label. Admiral Greyscale’s input is largely conceptual and design-oriented.
Simon Reynolds, ReynoldsRetro
Mordant Music's Dead Air sounds like an electro/rave version of The Disintegration Loops. Mordant are fascinating in part because they affirm decay and deliquescence as productive processes. It is as if the mould growing on the archives is the creative force behind their sound. Listening to Dead Air is like stumbling into an abandoned museum 200 years into the future where old rave tracks play on an endless loop, degrading, becoming more contaminated with each repetition; or like being stranded in deep space, picking up decaying radio signals from a far distant earth to which you will never return; or like memory itself re-imagined as an oneiric television studio, where fondly recalled television announcers, drifting in and out of audibility, narrate your nightmares in reassuring tones.