Emerging out of Rouen, a small city in the Normandy region of France, Steeple Remove burst onto the European underground in 1998 with their debut release, The Importance of Being Steeple Remove, on the cult label Sordide Sentimental (Joy Division, Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV). Fast-forward twenty years and the band have just released their fifth full-length, Vonal-Axis, on London’s Fuzz Club Records. Their finest record to date, it’s a deeply-interesting listen that journeys from woozy shoegaze drones that weigh heavy on your chest to kosmische psych-pop and dubbed-out post-punk.
To celebrate the release the band are now sharing a new animated video for “Oval-Strii”, the album’s opening track. Talking about the video, they explain: “The video made by Julien Brunet is an invitation to travel into a terra incognita... a world unknown. Much like The Upside Down in Stranger Things, it’s an inverted parallel world. The police car and helicopter indicate something real and subjective, grounding it in some form of reality, but in the dystopian, fragmented terrain through which they travel, everything comes alive. Bodies, plants, minerals, rays of light, figures of monsters all unfold in a weird surreal landscape. It’s a slow, fascinating and perfectly orchestrated journey that’s equally as hypnotic and disorientating as the track itself.”
Vonal-Axis sees Steeple Remove hone in on two decades of experimentation to magnificent effect, warping their Moog devotion into a whole new beast and producing a collection of tracks that are sometimes poppy, sometimes heavy, but always exploratory. The album was recorded by the band themselves, the creative process involving taking half-written songs into the studio and then improvising on top of them to maintain the energy the songs had when played live. Helping out with mixing duties was Demian Castellanos, the mastermind behind Fuzz Club label-mates The Oscillation, whom Steeple Remove became good friends with after both bands played together several years ago. Among the long list of other bands Steeple Remove have shared the stage with is krautrock leviathans Faust and Damo Suzuki, London punk-rockers Wire and D.C. stoner rock troupe Dead Meadow - offering a pretty clear insight into the many sonic worlds Steeple Remove have journeyed into and found a home through the years.
Steeple Remove is Arno Van Colen (Vocals/Synths), Walter Thomas (Percussion), Mana Audisio (Guitars) and David B (Bass).