Father Murphy: the sound of Catholic guilt

Our week of articles about the genius artists we get to work with comes to an end with Father Murphy, possibly the most mindbending act we’ve ever worked with, before they join us tomorrow with Muscle and Marrow at New River Studios.

Father Murphy is the sound of the Catholic sense of guilt, formed from the Reverend Freddy Murphy and Chiara Lee. They describe themselves as, “a downward spiral aiming at the bottom of the hollow, and then digging even deeper”.

“Each release of ours is a different concept about the path that this fictional character, Father Murphy, is undergoing in order to find his own place, to give voice to the feeling of religiousness that he feels so, so far away from institutionalised religion. In No Room for the Weak, a 2010 EP, we tried to give sounds to an idea of mysticism, where Father Murphy gets to think that it is only through suffering that you can reach a real prayer. But it wasn’t enough. We kept digging, we were born and raised Catholics, so the Sense of Guilt is something that belongs to us, every day and every evening, so we had to get to the point where we had to deal musically with the Cross, as symbol, a parabole, where you understand that you always need to sacrifice something in order to get to a higher point, to a higher consciousness. Musically, we tried to go for a even more minimalist approach, working on more percussive sounds where the percussive moments contain more melodic elements than a regular percussion (and here John [Dietrich of Deerhoof, who they recorded with] suggested to use several contacts mics, so that each instrument had several outputs we could then control in mixing), where the vocals more than before are long and droney sounds, as if human voices were trying to resemble celestial horns; where Celestial means also triumphant, and where triumphant means noisy and clangy.”

Over the years the Turin-based band became one of the most interesting and enigmatic musical entities coming out of Italy, part of that community that Simon Reynolds defined as “Italian Occult Psychedelia” and well known for their really intense live shows, something in between a rite and an artistic performance.

Father Murphy furiously performed all over Europe and toured North America with Deerhoof, Dirty Beaches, Iceage and Xiu Xiu, and has been praised by the Archdruid Julian Cope, Michael Gira, Jarboe, Stephen O’Malley and Geoff Barrow, among lots of others.

After five albums and a plethora of EPs and limited releases, The Italian outfit just finished their last effort, “a trilogy on the cross”, consisting of Calvary (EP released in January 2015 by the British label Blue Tapes), Croce (which they brought to us on their UK tour last year) and Lamentations (EP out November 2015 via Italian label Backwards).

Full details about Father Murphy, Muscle and Marrow and Tolerance Manoeuvre at New River Studios

£10 advance tickets

£13 on the door

Design by Lou Steaton