Exploring Film, Music, Art and the Wider Cultural Themes that Surround Them

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Cultural Bulletin discusses Experimental Music, Independent Cinema and the wider cultural themes that surround them.

REVISITING: DOME - 3+4

Dome’s 3+4 combines the third (1981's Dome 3) and fourth (Will You Speak This Word from 1983) albums into one opaque package. The band were made up of Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert, both of iconic post-punk group Wire. The record features musical assistance from artist Russell Mills and by Mute Records regulars Eric Radcliffe and Daniel Miller. 3+4 followed compilation 1+2 and presents a further progression into their experimental realm which is immediately evident in the dada-like onomatopoeic titles, frenetic structure and pacing of the music. 

Particularly in the first half of 3+4, Dome remove hierarchal distinction between vocals and instruments with the essence of each track distilled into monosyllabic titles such as Ba-Dr, D-D-Bo and Ar-Gu. Some of the titles represent text approximations of the singular and rapid vocal sounds whilst others titles divert from a literal incantation, instead rolling backwards (as seen in Ur-Ur) or almost bursting into conventional song. 

Despite being comprised of two LP’s the clear coherence to Dome’s canon remains self-evident. For a project that was comparably short-lived next to their parent company, Wire, Dome has constructed a world that operates across a wide breadth of ideas. The staccato loom and time-bending impenetrable vibration of rhythmically infused elements, be it vocal, guitar, synth or traditionally percussive instruments, form a tonally and texturally rich composition. Everything is set to a monochromatic backdrop, the all black of Ad Reinhardt's painterly pieces or at it's lightest Gerard Richter's 'Gray' works. 

The surrealism that falls into the frame from any direction, often lands upside down. In this way, Dome share some of the absurdist qualities of artist Martin Kippenberger who was also making work throughout the eighties. It's the self-awareness, the awkwardness and the collapse of modern man that seem to relate so well. In fact, musically songs like Kippenberger's 'Yuppi Du' could be considered the weird cousin to moments from 3+4.

3+4 (as well as 1+2) combines two vital records that should be essential listening for anyone interested in late 1970's/early 80's post-punk and experimental rock. Language to describe Dome is not easy - their music is atypical, unpredictable, metallic, concrete, industrial, dank, haphazard, absurd, oafish, delicate, structurally sound, sculptural and consequently a surprise at every turn. AG