26 December 2022
“Shell” is a new single by the Duo Ritual cloak a combination of Andrew Sanders and Daniel Barnett
Ritual Cloak is a Cardiff, South Wales-based electronic post-rock duo. Andrew Sanders and Daniel Barnett make up the duo. In 2019, the duo released their well-received self-titled debut after setting out to explore new musical grounds through the use of minimal techno beats and piano-led ambient soundscapes inspired by a shared love of sci-fi.
Ritual Cloak signed to Bubblewrap Collective Records in 2020 and released the single “I Lawr Ymhlith Y Tywyllwch” that year. Ritual Cloak‘s most ambitious year yet, 2021, saw the release of two full-length albums, “Divine Invasions” and “A Human Being Is The Best Disguise,” a reworking of the debut album with new lyrics and vocals by writer and comedian Autumn Juvenile, followed by a cover of R.E.M.’s Orange Crush and the meditative collaboration Witaj w Domu with Polish photographer Michal Iwanowski. Ritual Cloak has returned with the dramatically intimate new single “Shell,” which was released on November 23rd, 2022 across all digital platforms.
“Shell” is about being in a dream where you’re always looking for someone but never quite finding them. It’s an idea that has been circulating for a while and has undergone a number of changes before becoming what it is now. “Shell” originally had a completely different vibe because it was written for acoustic guitar. The dramatic intimacy of Feist’s album “Metals,” which Dan recalled listening to again, gave him the idea to rewrite “Shell” for piano. When the song was brought into the studio, Sanders recommended stepping outside of the vocalists’ normal comfort zone. This method of production was influenced by Bon Iver and Mogwai, who experimented with vocoder and made the first-ever conscious use of autotune. Because of this, the song explored new musical grounds and served as a gentle reminder to all of us that there are no rules in what we do.
The first section of “Shell” is very pleasant, unwinding, and leisurely, with the duo concentrating only on vocal parts and ambiance. There are no rhythmic sequences in this section, so to some listeners, it might sound like a prelude. But if you scratch the surface, you’ll find layers of autotuned vocals, calming piano tones, and powerful basslines. The second segment’s rhythmic support is directed by the claps and delicate kick drums, which perfectly complement the other instrumentations. It may still sound minimalistic, but Ritual Cloak incorporated many details into this number, and you’ll notice them all if you pay close attention. “Shell” is a complex ambient/post-rock composition with some of pop’s best qualities, usually highlighted by outstanding vocal performance. It’s one of those songs that will undoubtedly end up on your indie playlist. Check it out on streaming services Now!
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