All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

School of Seven Bells

by Brian Fichtner
on 10 November 2008
bells_new_686_1.jpg

Since watching their revelatory performance at the Ghostly International CMJ showcase two weeks ago, the School of Seven Bells have accompanied me every day, lilting my step on morning commutes and late night walks with their dreamy soundscapes and yearning anthems.

A new addition to Ghostly's eclectic roster of artists, the Brooklyn-based School of Seven Bells is comprised of guitarist Benjamin Curtis, formerly of the psych-rock outfit Secret Machines, and the seraphic twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, whose soaring harmonies stand out on the Bells' debut album, Alpinisms.

alpinisms.jpg

Alpinisms is a particularly apt title for an album whose songs inspire the kind of transcendental feelings one finds atop wind-swept summits. In fact, the album title is a derivation of René Daumal's concept of alpinism, which he defined as "the art of climbing mountains." For the Bells, alpinisms are "mountain-climbing songs," both literally and metaphorically.

From the glitchy tribal beat and choral chant of opening track, "Iamundernodisguise," to the starry sequencing and imploring verse of the closer, "My Cabal," these songs offer a cadence to carry the everyday climber through both peak and valley. A quote from Daumal's "Mount Analogue" might describe the general tone of Alpinisms best: "There is an art to finding your way in the lower regions by the memory of what you have seen when you were higher up. When you can no longer see, you can at least still know..."

By their very optimism, the School of Seven Bells manage to eschew any shoegaze comparisons that might come readily to listeners making hasty judgments. While likenesses to the lush guitar tremors of My Bloody Valentine and the ethereal vocals of The Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser are notable, the Bells offer something new entirely. They make being a stargazer relevant again, albeit one teetering on a rocky precipice.

We've included a tease of the Ghostly Presents School of Seven Bells video above, along with two songs from Alpinisms after the jump. Buy the album at the Ghostly Store or on iTunes.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should
Loading More...