Nathan Fake Sunder EP Ninja Tune
Most people’s first introduction to Nathan Fake was 2004’s The Sky Was Pink – a uniquely epic piece of sparkling, progressive techno. Rather than make a dozen not-quite-as good follow-ups, Fake chose to diversify, making M83-esque soundscapes and, more recently on his 2016 Providence album, turning towards more pastoral compositions (with well-selected remixes delivering more dancefloor-focused versions). This new EP takes a slightly different tack again, and shares in common with collaborator James Holden’s latest album an organic sound captured in single takes with very little post-production.
The title track and opener is a twitching, chugging slab of techno, the lo-fi recording method so prominent that you can almost hear the switches being flicked and dials being rotated as the track stumbles to frazzled completion. Serotonin Drops whips an initially soothing melody into a series of fizzing, discordant crescendos, that fully evidence the title’s sentiment. But in a strong five-song set, probably the best track is Cloudswept, and it also happens to provide the closest link back to Nathan Fake’s earliest releases. Synths dance around, spluttering in and out of focus; organ chords rise and fall; melody merges into syncopated rhythm and a majestic noise is coaxed into life and then disappears again. Nathan Fake has been around for some time, and Sunder is arguably up there with his best work.