Recorded at Hot Salvation in Folkestone and with Ben Phillips at Lightship 95 Recording Studio, London, England between July 2015 and December 2016. Mastered by Brassica in Folkestone, January 2017.
This EP is the first recorded work to be released since 2014 by the group.
Sonic development from earlier work has come in the form of an expanded role of electronic instrumentation. Synthesisers have taken more of a forward role in phrasing and melodies. Arrangements have consciously become more sparse, moving guitar into a more supportive role, to minimise the weight in the mid frequency sounds. Live performances based on the previous recorded material did not achieve the sense of space and agility intended, so the ensemble has been augmented as a result, and these new compositions have more consideration for interesting textures from bass, synth, drum machines and vocal melody. Inspiration for this has come from the work from artists such as Brian Eno, Can, Jenny Hval, Talking Heads, Broadcast, K Leimer, Adrian Sherwood and so on. There has been a greater focus on improvisation and working with ‘stuck’ media than previously. The songs featured here, particularly Rotunda and Balance have been somewhat ‘under-composed’ and themselves are essentially first drafts, with some brief post production. We did this to contrast with a more standard way of making pop music; demoing, practicing, tweaking, preparing, moulding to ‘the set’ or ‘the brand’ of the group. This way, we have tested our own standards of allowing work to be composed and brought together to represent our group such as it is, in different and interesting ways.
Subject matter for the material written and recorded this year has a broad theme of ‘the concealed self.’ Our social and domestic situations often manifest themselves as barriers to happiness, or ‘the problem’ with not being happy. We blame choices made, for why we’re under pressure, or stress, and why we feel negative at any time. Alongside that, we’re subject to unsaid social contracts relating to ‘strength of character.’ and I’m interested how this is effecting our mental health, and how this manifests itself often in ‘bad behaviour.’ And extending on that, what we’re capable of doing, and getting away with; Addiction, Theft, Infidelity whatever we are using to self medicate in secret, while we function, pay our bills, buy our house, do the shopping, get to work on time. Every day. Vocal performance is predominantly based on improvised composition, repetition and focussing on specific situations. Despite the songs being written in the second or first person, I have observed situations and I hope read true for people of all genders. I cannot escape examining myself, and certainly there is a fair chunk of that in the writing, but my interest is far more broad, and I hope the focus is on the tension and release, or perceived problems and situations we all may find.
Much like with our instrumental performance, I’m influenced by minimalist composers and bands and artists that have used repetition extensively in their work. Be it Steve Reich, Neu, Women, Underworld or Electrelane, I’m naturally drawn to the workman-like ‘hammering’ of motifs and ostinatos, and vocally this is no different. You will find my phrases based in pop, but used like circular riffs as opposed to developing larger narratives. What I hope is to develop a larger, broader consistency to the work as a whole. It all comes under the same shadow, and my performance and composition deals with the larger subject matter, but responds to each song with appropriate tone, dynamic and texture.