In the early noughties, Italian occult band Father Murphy initially formed remotely between the USA and China, seldom meeting for fleeting recording sessions. However, by 2008’s ...And He Told Us To Turn To The Sun the band had all returned to Italy, and their sound soon solidified into something both deeply unpredictable and blackly psychedelic. The group’s core members (and allegedly Father Murphy’s own two children), Freddie Murphy and Chiara Lee, have told the story of Father Murphy over more than half a dozen albums and EP’s, documenting a deep personal descent into turmoil.
Although the myriad influences of Beijing Opera, Joy Division, Asian folk, This Heat, Arvo Pärt, Jarboe (with whom the group recently collaborated) and M. Gira’s Swans were all key to Father Murpy’s development, the church was where the group first got in touch with music. “Churches are places where there's always music in the air,” explain the duo. “We both sang in the local church choir, we both studied piano when kids, and rehearsed in the church when empty with a air pumped harmonium.” Ultimately the rites of mass have proved the biggest influence over Father Murphy’s back catalogue.
As the Father Murphy narrative progressed, so did their increasingly strange sound world. Furiously touring for the last seven years—performing with the likes of Carla Bozulich, Deerhoof, MXLX, Xiu Xiu, Dirty Beaches, Iceage, the aforementioned Jarboe, plus many more along the way—has also kept the project fresh. Father Murphy have actively sought out fresh inputs for their music, to keep it in a state of constant change. They expanded from the psych rock tunes of Six Musicians Getting Unknown (2005) to far more sombre rituals on ...And He Told Us To Turn To The Sun (2008), the increasingly leftfield experimentation of Anyway Your Children Will Deny It (2012), Pain Is On Our Side Now (2014), and the almost theatrical Croce(2015).