For fans of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Velvet Underground, TOY. Unbeknownst to its members, Index For Working Musik was born on an evening in late 2019 amidst the discovery of a collection of faded b&w photocopies that had been marinating on the floor of a urine-alley in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. An assortment of sacred and profane imagery were crumpled amongst an essay on early Christian hermits, entitled Men Possessed by God, the meaning of which was enticingly vague. Received together, they planted the seeds for a new endeavour. Though Max Oscarnold and Nathalia Bruno were already engaged in a creative ping-pong of sorts, the results to this point had only totaled a 30 min long ½ inch tape containing one track and four interludes. They needed a page and they needed ink, and they needed a place and it needed energy. Suddenly by chance or divine intervention, their experimental venture had been given form and direction.
Back home in London’s cursed smog, they moved themselves and their 8-track studio into a basement in E8, where the project’s gravitational pull gained strength, quickly developing into an unexpected collective with the incorporation of drummer Bobby Voltaire, double bass player E. Smith and guitarist J. Loftus. As the world shifted around them and the Plague Years followed, it became increasingly clear that they were not going to leave that small basement room. The scarcity of light or outer world presence was less a limitation, instead the main tool at hand, allowing the recording to stretch for boundaryless days in architectural isolation, and forcing them to make straight forward free guitar music, adopting a ‘first thought, best thought’ approach.
The result of this period became a collection of music they were to name Dragging the Needlework for the Kids at Uphole, released via Tough Love. 35 minutes of repeat phrased guitars, slow-clipped drums and dulcet vocals where the recurring landscape is the desert. Reel-to reel-loops of Afghan music compete with the found sound overlays of voices recorded at the queue of the pharmacy and drum machines borrowed from Spanish heroes, channelling both far-off climes and snippets from a closer reality. It’s a strange psychic brew, built of imagined mysticism and domestic realities, of fever dreams and days that stretched into weeks of months.
What was sparked by that discovery in the Gothic Quarter was actually a realisation that what they were looking for was with them all the while, buried as it was in piles of voice memos and recorded guitar feedback. Men Possessed By God they may be not: it was self-possession that was to guide their way in the end.
“Life, despite all its destructive changes, remains indestructibly powerful and joyful.”