Dalhous, the cult electronic music project masterminded by Edinburgh-based writer-producer Marc Dall, has become a force to be reckoned with. Closely associated with the Blackest Ever Black label, they debuted on that imprint in 2012 with the Mitchell Heisman EP, before releasing their first album, An Ambassador For Laing, to widespread acclaim in 2013: The Wire magazine praised “a frequently beautiful music, whose often calm surface belies the powerful currents moving beneath it”, while FACT called the LP a “wonderfully compelling head-scratcher … opaque, elusive – and fascinating.”
Having closed that year with a split EP on Japan’s 10 label with Matthew Herbert, Steven Porter and Perc, they returned in Spring 2014 with an mesmerising new EP, Visibility Is A Trap, including a remix of Ambassador highlight ‘He Was Human And Belonged With Humans’ by techno icon Regis.
July 2014 saw the release of their second LP Will To Be Well. A sensuous, cinematic epic that has already won plaudits from the likes of Pitchfork and Resident Advisor, it reflects Dall’s continued interest in the life and arcana of radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing, but also alludes to more universal and enduring mysteries: the relationships between body and mind, illness and wellness, the physical and the metaphysical.
The next full length release came in March 2016 in the form of The Composite Moods Collection Vol.1: House Number 44, the first LP of a triptych cycle that will be released incrementally over three years. Longtime followers of Dalhous will observe that House Number 44 contains some of their sparsest, most malevolent-sounding work to date (see especially the brooding synthesizer throb of ‘Response To Stimuli’ and ‘End Of Each Analysis’) but some of their most disarmingly beautiful too, with indelible melodies and atmospheres as deep as thought: ‘Methods of Élan’, ‘On A Level’, the elegiac ‘Lines To Border’. Dall’s enduring affection for neo-noir film scores of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, with their gleaming electronics and submerged existential torment, is more palpable here than ever, and you may hear echoes too of Klaus Schulze, Pete Namlook, or Eno’s The Shutov Assembly – but Dalhous continue to plot their own course, obsessively and meticulously, oblivious to contemporary trends and unconstrained by historical influence; driven, indeed, by their own demons.