This year saw the birth of Collisions, a supergroup comprising neo-classical composer Tom Hodge, post-rock composer Ciaran Morahan and jazz composer and drummer Ollie Howell, all three accomplished and exceptional musicians and composers in their own right, with already expansive experimental practice. Their joint musical venture yielded its first fruits in September with the release of a majestic, immersive, and cinematic self-titled debut album that hooked us at first listen. So we're over the moon to unfold the absolutely amazing and awe-inspiring mixtape they assembled for us reflecting some of their extraordinary influences.
Brambles – In The Androgynous Dark [Serein]
Laurence Pike – Daughter of Mars [The Leaf Label]
Neil Cowley Trio – Death Of Amygdala (Christian Löffler Remix) [Phases]
Kodomo – Orange Ocean (Loscil Remix)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Less Likely [The Null Corporation]
Rival Consoles – Memory Arc [Erased Tapes]
Jonny Greenwood – Tree Strings [Invada / Lakeshore]
Bersarin Quartett – Staub und Sterne [Denovali]
Fredric Robinson – Vamp Till Ready [BMTM]
Max Cooper – Symmetry (Hidden Orchestra Remix) [Mesh]
We love Nightports’ sublime music. The inventive duo of British musicians and producers Adam Martin and Mark Slater approach their different projects with sets of pre-defined rules. Their recent EP, Wat Chedi Luang, was created using recordings from a unique day and place. Similarly, for their two previous albums, they only used sounds produced by a featured musician, discovering varied ways to explore and rework the artist’s music. Following their 2018 collaboration with Matthew Bourne, last year’s dazzling sonic collaboration, Nightports w/ Betamax, made it to our favourite Albums of 2020 and we simply can’t put it down. So we’re delighted they stitched together this phenomenal mix for us. Dig in!
Anna Meredith – Calion [Moshi Moshi] 0:00
Eli Keszler – Measurement Doesn’t Change the System At All [Shelter Press] 4:30
It’s no secret we love Laurence Pike. A relentless drummer, phenomenal improviser and inventive composer, for the last two decades he has recorded and played with an array of bands, setting up his drumkit at the junction of electronic, jazz and post-rock. His 2018 debut solo album, Distant Early Warning, and its follow up, Holy Spring, both blew us away and made it to our Album Picks of the Year. Reacting to the catastrophic wild fires in his native Australia, Pike released his powerful third album, Prophecy, this summer. We asked him to put together this month’s mixtape and he wrapped up his “Pandemic Favourites” for us. An hour made up of the tracks he has found himself delving into as of late, this is the soundtrack we needed to end the year beautifully!
Takashi Kokubo – 回廊の音楽 [Glossy Mistakes]
Haji K – A White-Tinted Sky [Daisart]
Paradise Cinema – It Will Be Summer Soon [Gondwana Records]
Hiroshi Yoshimura – Surround [Misawa Home]
Finis Africae – Hybla [EM Records]
Phillip Wilkerson – The Way Of Heaven [Stereoscenic]
Luke Abbott – Ames Window [Border Community]
Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza – Polynomial Voices [Asura Revolver]
Following the recent release of his third solo album, Prophecy, Laurence Pike keeps the surprises coming by rolling out a new video for new single ‘Ember’. The video was directed again by visual artist Clemens Habicht, who explained it “is an evolution of the methodology established in previous collaborations on ‘Drum Chant’ and ‘Nero’. He added:
“The shapes in motion again resemble print making abstractions of form that visually parallel Laurence’s exploratory music. This video departs from a direct musical synchronicity of image and sound and captures another type of internal notation, using motion from an activity outside of performance that for Laurence brings a similar type of concentration without the same mastery, a meditative practice that is most likely quite addictive, possibly frustrating, and has him go into a special headspace, trusting in instinct and the process to give forth an outcome”
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, we love Laurence Pike. And we are absolutely thrilled with his third solo album, Prophecy, arriving next week. The incredibly inventive percussionist and composer recorded the album as a reaction to the catastrophic wild fires in his native Australia.
Following the first single ‘Nero’, Pike is enticing us again with a new track called ‘Death of Science’, described as “an abstract rumination on politics trying to deny the nature of the universe, in which broken voices and muted drums attempt to spin around the certainty of the physical world.” Take a listen below and grab Prophecy when it’s out on July 24th through The Leaf Label.
It’s no secret we love Laurence Pike. The incredibly inventive percussionist and composer, who for the last two decades has recorded and played with an array of bands and artists intersecting with the realms of electronic and jazz music, has dazzled us time and again for over a decade now with numerous projects and collaborations. 2018 saw him release his celestial debut solo album, Distant Early Warning, followed last year with the tantalizing Holy Spring. Both records made it to our 15 Album Picks of 2018 and 2019 respectively, and both remain active favourites. So we’re excited to know Pike has a new album on the way. Entitled Prophecy, the record came to life as a reaction to the catastrophic wild fires in his native Australia. He shared a few words about it:
“The music on Prophecy was made during an intense period of climate-related disasters in my home of Australia last summer that seemed to represent the beginning of a strange new way of existing on Earth.
The pieces were developed in the space of four weeks at my home, and then captured in a single day of studio performances. As a result, the music is as much an assemblage of moments from the days leading up to the recording (stepping into my garden to be greeted by a dark pink sun against a brown sky, and ash gently raining on me) as it is a reflection of how I felt in the moment playing them live in the studio.
In the short time since, we’ve gone from staying inside and wearing face masks because the city was completely surrounded by fire, and the air filled with acrid smoke, to staying indoors to stop the spread of a global pandemic…
Prophecies often foretell of the end of the world, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say things have felt a little apocalyptic down here for the last several months. Yet, despite decades old studies predicting catastrophic bushfire seasons in Australia, we’ve been living in an era where science seems be have become an ideological choice for those elected to represent our best interests.
Put simply, I believe recent events are all part of the broader theme of sustainability. In the face of this, it’s inevitable to question the very purpose of making music, and how it can contribute to the discourse at a time like this. I’m not a scientist, nor a policy maker. I don’t even consider myself to be an activist. I’m a musician. Music has been the prism of my existence as long as I can remember, and I think at its heart music should be a form of storytelling.
It seems to me that humans are inherently dynamic in nature, and that our current culture in many ways has stalled in its dynamism. We’re searching for a narrative to direct us in the face of an uncertain future. For some this means retreating to the past, turning inward, and for others, it means looking forward, opening up. I’ve come to realise that the pursuit of performing solo over the last few years has been my unconscious response to the feeling of cultural stasis that’s pervaded the world as a result.
I often think of something that the great saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter said: “Play and write music the way you want the world to be”. If nothing else, I’d like my music to present the possibility of a way a being; a space that is dynamic in its intent – drawing on the language of the past, yet responsive to the moment, interpreted with tools of the present, and open to the narrative of the future being one that has yet to be told.
Despite the seismic shifts that society is currently experiencing, I sense an exciting opportunity for progress rather than retreat, and as an artist, I can only contribute the best way I know how; to make music in the way I want the world to be.”
Prophecy is set for release on July 24th through The Leaf Label and ahead of it, Pike is enticing us with first single ‘Nero’. Director Clemens Habicht, who had previously worked with Pike, has paired the single with a visual accompaniment. Watch it below.