Cyclobe have been at the forefront of experimental British music for over a decade. Both former members of seminal underground band Coil, Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown will take to the Southbank stage on August 4 as one of the acts of the Antony Hegarty-curated Meltdown Festival. "They represent a frontier of visionary / ecstatic electronic music", Antony explains. Cycobe will perform alongside Myrninerest (the new project from Current 93's David Tibet) and a selection of Derek Jarman shorts under the umbrella of Queer British Paganism. "We wanted to do something that wasn't a tribute to Coil at all, but wanted to bring some of their Queer Pagan consciousness Meltdown. Queer Paganism is a way of bringing forward the things that I care about: earth-based, spiritual creative reveries," Hegarty says of the band. As The Antony & The Johnsons frontman lines up his guest-edited articles on Dazed Digital, we caught up with Ossian to find out more...
Antony came over to play the Bloombsbury Theatre with Current 93, which is when we met, so we've been close friends for many years now. Antony’s my beautiful, courageous sister. So inspiring.
Dazed Digital: Where does the name Cyclobe come from?
Ossian Brown: We wanted a word without any direct associations and that we could invest with our own meanings. Cyclobe for me is devotional music, it's about reverence. We're drawn to make music that escapes words and transports you, charges and influences the atmosphere.
DD: What can we expect from your performance 'Albion - Hypnagogue - Ghost: Hallucinatory Queer British Paganism'?
Ossian Brown: An evening of mantrickal moon pieces, arboreal benedictions, Gog-Magog at the maypole! We have a few surprises in store for the evening, and one very special one. We began working on it several years ago but now’s the perfect time, the perfect constellation. Although we use a lot of electronically-generated sounds we also incorporate many traditional instruments like border pipes, hurdy gurdies and accordions. I play a lute-back hurdy gurdy made in the 1850s, and it feels pregnant with history, and so pagan.
DD: Which Derek Jarman films will you be soundtracking?
Ossian Brown: We've scored three films by Derek: 'Sulphur,' 'Tarot' and 'Garden of Luxor.' All were made in the early 1970s. They were among his earliest experiments in Super-8 and rarely seen in this form. They’re alchemical, magical films, invertebrate dream pieces, very abstract in a lot of ways. I only met Derek a handful of times, but Stephen knew him well and was in several of Derek’s films. He scored “The Angelic Conversation” back in 1984 when he was in Coil. I've always been a huge admirer, of his films and his art. Seeing his work as a boy blew me away.
DD: How did you meet Antony?
Ossian Brown: Antony came over to play the Bloombsbury Theatre with Current 93, which is when we met, so we've been close friends for many years now. Antony’s my beautiful, courageous sister. So inspiring.
DD: This is only Cyclobe's second live performance. Why have you declined to perform in the past, and why now?
Ossian Brown: It was a difficult decision to say yes, but in my heart I always knew we would. We felt so flattered Antony invited us and feel good and safe amongst friends.
DD: Coil famously composed a soundtrack for 'Hellraiser' that was rejected. Which modern movie would you like Cyclobe to soundtrack?
Ossian Brown: It's very strange to me how filmmakers, however extreme and experimental they like to get with their visuals, are so often incredibly conservative with music. I find so much of film music patronising, pre-empting events with banal motifs, telling us precisely when to feel awe at some grand digital spectacle. I have no idea what modern movie I would like to have worked on. Bela Tarr’s 'The Turin Horse' perhaps, although he's just announced his retirement!
This week Antony Hegarty is guest-editing Dazed Digital, bringing to the site his unique take on 'Future Feminism', the theme for the Meltdown festival that he is curating from August 1, 2012.
Follow Owen Myers on Twitter here @owen_myers