After the intensely emotional catharsis that was 2017’s Providence, which saw Nathan Fake break five years of writers’ block with a truly special album, it was almost inevitable that he’d balance that out with a moodier counterpart.
Enter Sunder: A four track EP that’ recorded entirely in single takes with no post-edits, so each track, according to Fake, is “left completely as it was recorded; they’re quite messy but I love that energy”.
On first listen, it sounds like the ‘difficult’ electronica that we’ve come to expect from him, but as ever with Fake’s work there’s an underlying sense of warmth and depth, storytelling and emotion, that’s often lacking from some of his contemporaries. Just give it time, let it develop, relax your mind into his world and you’re there.
There’s a compelling sort of darkness to Sunder. “Serotonin Drops” employs Fake’s signature and much-loved softly-swaying melodies over a disconcerting rhythm, and sounds like watching a deep sea aquarium as narrated by Tim Burton: Each strike of the keyboard is a fish darting across the screen, while the chugging beat drip-drops insistently, forcing the listener to delve deeper into the murk, meditating in a hopeless place.
“Cloudswept” takes this dripping beat and flips it on its head, bringing in progressive rhythms for a much more positive, warmer-sounding track. Crescendoing like ripping corduroy, the sluiced beats revel in their juicy, underwater feel, while ‘80s arcade synths warp over each other like melted sunshades behind a Riviera-parked Porsche’s windscreen. With its driving beat and 2am motorway haziness, it’s a great track for powering along the midnight autobahn. I imagine.
Imagination is what makes this record. There’s something about each one of these tracks that lulls out a scenario from the recesses of your brain, with each different sonic motif working around the others to complete a narrative, which fades out of your mind immediately as the song melts into itself at the end, like the disintegrating dawn reverie we all experience on attempting to remember a dream.
The key though you’re left with is: Imagine hitting record and making this.