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School of Seven Bells

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Ben Curtis fled Secret Machines in 2007 to focus on School of Seven Bells, an electronics-enhanced dream pop group formed with twin sister vocalists Claudia and Alejandra Deheza (also of On!Air!Library!). They debuted in 2007 on Sonic Cathedral with the 7" recording My Cabal, which featured a remix on the B-side from Robin Guthrie -- Guthrie's Cocteau Twins, as well as several of the artists the Cocteaus inspired, from My Bloody Valentine to Medicine, as well as Curve, being apparent touchstones. Two other releases were out before the end of the year: the Face to Face on High Places 7" (Radium) and The Class of 73 Bells (Warp), a four-track Prefuse 73 EP featuring the group's input. The group's activities the following year included Silent Grips, a 7" released on Suicide Squeeze, and that October's Alpinisms, released on Ghostly International. They released the bigger-sounding Disconnect from Desire in July 2010 through Ghostly and Vagrant. Claudia Deheza left the group three months later, and by the end of the following February, Ghostory -- the third School of Seven Bells album -- was out on Ghostly/Vagrant. Early in 2013, Curtis announced that he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He died near the end of the year. A few months later, Alejandra Deheza released a School of Seven Bells cover of Joey Ramone's "I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up)" that was recorded while Curtis was in the hospital. (Ramone himself died of lymphoma just over a decade earlier.) In October 2015, Deheza announced the upcoming release of a fourth album, SVIIB. Nearly finished at the time of Curtis' diagnosis, it was later completed by Deheza with help from producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen and scheduled for February 2016. ~ Andy Kellman

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