There was a time when you could take an artist at their word when they said they were calling it quits, but nowadays the feeling of loss that comes with news of a band splitting is soon replaced by speculation as to when they’ll reunite. That said, Freddie Murphy and Chiara Lee, the duo behind the enigmatic Italian cult act Father Murphy, seem determined to be taken at their word here. The top inside cover of Rising. A Requiem for Father Murphy — an album so final there are two periods in the title — reads “Father Murphy 2001 – 2018”, leaving little room for interpretation. The one way back now may be a resurrection, but Rising is a haunting farewell fully committed to its vision that ends the Father Murphy saga which has played out over a number of LPs, EPs and splits over the last 17 years.
It is usually a cliche to describe a record as “unlike any other you’ll hear this year”, but such a statement is not only applicable to Rising, it is an appropriate frame of mind to get in before stepping into its candlelit world of ceremonial noise, natural texture and stark mysticism. The album’s procession of 12 tracks assumes the configuration of a Catholic requiem. Its body is not that of a rock record or a religious ceremony, but a transubstantial state somewhere in between the two. The field recording nature of it at times mirrors the feeling of a radio drama, such as when the bleak resonating clang and chanting of the extended “Sequence” is followed by the crackling fire of “Offertory”. Rising is an album that you close your eyes and immediately see in three dimensions, and it is nearly impossible to think about anything else while absorbed in it.