Nathan Fake Providence Ninja Tune
Norfolk native Nathan Fake is part of a strain of adventurous British electronic producers such as Luke Abbott, James Holden and Aphex Twin. Born in mostly rural surroundings, these producers make melodic, glitchy electronica that’s sensitive to the environment that continues to mould them. In Fake’s case, that sensitivity is alluded to in the tracks that bookend his new album Providence, feelings 1 and feelings 2. The former is a jagged sequence of arpeggiated synths, while the latter is a dreamy, soothing bubbler. This album, which is Fake’s first LP in five years, feels like a cathartic exercise for the producer, a release of tensions that resolve in characteristically emotive ways. It charts a journey from a state of unrest to one of reconciliation. The title track, for instance, is hectic, shimmering, and feels shot through with anxiety, the Korg Prophecy synth Fake used for this album being pushed to its MIDI-90s limits. Similarly, HoursDaysMonthsSeasons feels full of semi-reverential foreboding, punctuated by kicked triplets that fade as the sense of danger grows. CONNECTIVITY is another highlight, a high tempo exercise in tonal intervals. It’s the sort of thing a hyperactive kid might make if left alone with a synth.
But the album often feels lukewarm. unen is ‘soundscaping’ of the kind that doesn’t demand repeat listening. REMAIN fails to emotionally connect with the listener and RVK’s pots-and-pans percussion is less interesting than it is grating. Still, Nathan Fake is an extremely talented musician, and there’s plenty to explore here. It’s good to have him back.