Landscapes both seen and felt, real and imagined, lie at the heart of In All That Drifts From Summit Down, the vast debut full-length release from nomadic duo A Dead Forest Index. Comprised of brothers Adam Sherry (vocals/guitar) and Sam Sherry (drums/piano), the group crafts ethereal and intensely intimate compositions that defy trends and labeling, instead shaping an aural experience as organic as it is unpredictable. Forsaking instrumental complexity in favor of richly dense vocals and an otherwise minimal palette, the band evokes heaviness with the atmosphere they create rather than through blunt force.
Though basing themselves periodically in locales as far-flung as Melbourne and London, the oceanic grandeur of A Dead Forest Index’s songs suggests a spiritual mooring in their homeland of New Zealand. Their influences are rich and untapped: the poetic, archaic ‘deep song’ of Indian and Andalusian origin, Romanian lăutari troupe Taraf de Haidouks, and the allegorical symbolism found in William Blake have all been cited as antecedents. The group have themselves been compared to The Velvet Underground with Nico, Scott Walker, Swans with Jarboe, and Antony and the Johnsons, to name a few. In All That Drifts From Summit Down, their debut album, is a testimony to the sublime divinity of nature and the cold reality of time’s passage. Unfolding over 13 tracks, the album imagines natural phenomena as poetic metaphor for the human condition, the lyrics evoking stone, cold air, unyielding emptiness and erosion, while the enveloping warmth of Adam Sherry’s layered, choral vocals makes for an intriguing contrast.