Nathan Fake DEGREELESSNESS

Nathan Fake DEGREELESSNESS
8
Nathan Fake's strengths seem to be in bridging the melodic IDM of acts like Boards of Canada with more aggressive techno rhythms and thumping bass. A strong influence in this respect might be Aphex Twin, known for his groundbreaking work in the extremes of both aggression and ambience.
 
The romantic, BoC-indebted melodic haze of his earlier work is mostly absent from the first half of this EP, the eight-minute "DEGREELESSNESS," featuring Prurient. Instead, off-kilter bass drums rumble under an insistent hi-hat, while cool synth flourishes bubble forth from the ether. Around fives minutes in, a creepy melody sounding like a cross between slap bass and a harpsichord from hell takes centrestage for a unique and captivating climax. Prurient is an excellent choice for this collaboration; Fake is strongest when pushing outside his melodic safe zone, and Prurient's 2015 LP, Frozen Niagara Falls, showcased the majesty that's possible when a harsh noise artist pushes into melodic territory.
 
"Now We Know" sounds like Gold Panda's "Marriages" (or the excellent Baths remix) with a soft, warm synth part that sounds like it's triggered from an MPC. Even the sort of clave-like metallic percussion sound and the woody "snare" sound are things that could feature in a Gold Panda tune as well. Around three minutes in, these elements start falling away, and instead lofty synth clouds billow for about a minute of dreaminess. Then hi-hat and pumping bass drum push towards ecstasy amid filter-swept synth chords. Approaching seven minutes, the chords are frozen, unchanging for several seconds, and then the percussion is left alone for the denouement.
 
It's a pretty exciting effort from an artist who doesn't stop growing. Hopefully, his first full-length in four years is next on the horizon. (Ninja Tune)