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Madeline Johnston and Angel Diaz became close friends in 2020, regarding each other as a lifeline when things were difficult in their personal lives. This friendship was born from music but quickly became so much more than that. The two met in person in 2021, when Diaz came for a recording residency at Johnston’s studio in New Mexico. It was during this session that they wrote and recorded Orbweaving, in the heat of summer in the arid Chihuahuan Desert.
Orbweaving combines the best parts of Midwife’s “heaven metal” and Vyva Melinkolya’s sentimental, classic shoegaze in a way that distinctively elevates both artists. The record explores themes of hopelessness, calling on a higher power, being alone, and the sublime horror of the natural world. Orbweaving seeks to thematically and sonically create a web like structure—a gauze of sorrow and visceral connective thread.
At night, Diaz and Johnston went herping (a term used by herpetologists to describe looking for snakes and amphibians) along the empty roads near Las Cruces. The asphalt retains heat from the day, and the snakes absorb the warmth by writhing across the pavement.
They found rattlesnakes, roadkill, and orb-weaver spiders.
The track “Plague X” was inspired by the lifecycle of cicadas; whose seventeen year periodical cycle took place in 2021. The group of cicadas that emerged are known as Brood X. In a post-covid world, one is no stranger to living in a plague year. The violent arrival of Brood X cicadas are alluded to in the plague of locusts written about in the book of Exodus. “Plague X,” and the record in full, takes a look at an internal, emotional environment in the context of this bleak and terrifying event.
The locusts covered the face of the land and swallowed up every crop and all the fruits of the trees. Afterwards there was nothing green in the trees, and all the crops in the fields had been destroyed.