Mister Poppy – Jelly

“Jelly is like time. Jelly fits any mould. It resists the sentimentality of form. Jelly is a state of putrefaction before dust…” – Andrew Poppy

Jelly is the follow-up to Andrew Poppy’s Hoarse Songs from 2021, and finds the composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist exploring harsh electronic tonalities that emerge from the shadows of our collective imaginations.

Consisting of five long pieces, Jelly is accompanied by a libretto that shows Poppy the lyricist to be one part Beat stream of consciousness poet, one part experimental philosopher and one part languid observer. Mostly delivered as spoken word verse, Poppy’s words come across as a sort of voyeuristic sequence of clipped words, half-formed sentiments and hyper-visual word patterns. Dramatic, dirty and laced with a Lynchian notion of the fixated gaze, Poppy’s words alight upon grim notions with microscopic detail. Opening track ‘Tattoo / Copy Something That You Love’ might be about the processes involved with getting a tattoo, but it’s delivered with a nightmarish visceral streak that’s as unflinching as the Velvets’ ‘Heroin’ – a different needle, but the same sting.

According to Poppy, these pieces were at least partly inspired by Robert Rauschenberg. That would certainly explain the abrupt edges, collaged approach and his insouciant approach to subtle appropriation. Each piece here hovers round the twelve-minute mark without ever feeling like they have no sense of direction. Each builds slowly and often imperceptibly from base elements – a sonorous bass pulse, a fleeting, fluttering tone – toward some dramatic conclusion, without losing sight of an essential minimalistic ethos that allows empty spaces to be just as prominently featured as Poppy’s finely-crafted loops and dense blocks of electronic sound.

This is an often uncomfortable listen (which I intend as a compliment). There are many times on pieces like the haunting, hyper-sensual ‘Mister Post-Man / No More Fumbling’ where I’m reminded of Coil, especially when a flurry of strings drift into view on top of Poppy’s wiry, undulating electronic sequences. That’s not to suggest that these pieces deal with some sort of dark, brooding, shadowy occultist magick. It’s more the case that they contain a sense of tantalising, enveloping danger, acting like a portal to somewhere other than here, where every moral sensibility is inverted.

If that all seems to jar with a title that feels playful and ridiculous, therein lies Poppy’s compositional sleight of hand – an ability to take something quotidian, atomise it, play with the mess it produces and reassemble it with only the briefest sense of where it came from. A beautifully challenging and intensely-detailed album.

Jelly by Mister Poppy was released October 1 2022 by fieldRadio. Thanks to Philip.

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.

John Derek Bishop / Inge Weatherhead Breistein – Ro

Ro pairs electronic experimenter John Derek Bishop (Tortusa) with tenor saxophonist Inge Weatherhead Breistein. The album captures the duo performing in five churches along the western coast of their Norwegian homeland, with Bishop manipulating Breistein’s sax in real time using live sampling techniques.

The first thing that grabs you on the opening track, ‘Spurv’, is the rich tendrils of reverb that surround Breistein’s horn. This give his playing a stately and atmospheric quality, even when he launches into a run of more forceful notes instead of the more delicate passages elsewhere. Those sections are at once soothing but also inquisitive, as if he was seeking answers from the furthest corners of the room, his circular breathing technique seeming to gently lift you up out of your most contemplative thoughts.

Bishop’s processing similarly alternates between extremes. At its most subtle, his looping technique creates a chorus of Breisteins, a many-layered orchestra of saxophones, giving a sense of depth and perspective to his playing. Sometimes his contributions exist solely in the background as a microcosm of tiny sounds freighted with almost percussive textures, or as fleeting constructs of dissonant drones; elsewhere, as on the seven-minute title track, his involvement becomes increasingly prominent, especially in the second half, where he contrives to convert Breistein’s playing into a swooning, cinematic piece full of drama and tension. For the most part, at least in the first few pieces, Bishop occupies a terrain of considerable restraint and a generally respectful approach to his manipulations.

Perhaps the most surprising moments come with ‘Lag’ and ‘Stim’, where Bishop feels emboldened to add in a consistent rhythm alongside his partner’s sax. After a number of quiet, softly undulating pieces, those pieces have a crushing, disruptive edge, their rattling textures seeming to shake the pews and foundations out of their holy slumber. ‘Trekk’ begins with a passage of what could be echoing birdsong and clattering percussion, but might well be re-pitched and reassembled sections of Breistein building his horn and warming up. Whatever the source, as the piece progresses it evokes the feel of a slow riverboat cruise through some exotic jungle rather than trawling the cooler waters of Norway’s coastline, acting as a perfect example of this duo at their most inspiring.

Ro by John Derek Bishop and Inge Weatherhead Breistein was released by Punkt Editions / Jazzland on October 21 2022. Thanks to Jim.

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.

Vanessa Wagner – Royal Albert Hall, London 24.10.2022

At the end of her performance in a small room near the roof of the Royal Albert Hall, Vanessa Wagner leaned back, shook her hands vigorously, and issued a smile and a sigh of relief.

What came before was nothing short of mesmerising. As Wagner tackled complex, undulating, restless pieces by Philip Glass and Harold Budd, her fingers appeared to dance on the keys, sometimes lightly, often with resolute firmness. Between pieces her hands would float gently above the keys, as if contemplating what should come next. They would then fall lightly to the keys and begin their signature dance once more.

It is easy to regard minimalism – the genre of classical music into which Wagner has been perhaps inconveniently placed – as sparse and empty, of the spaces between notes as much as the notes themselves. Watching Wagner play literally thousands and thousands of notes challenges this. There are spaces. There is sparseness. But there is also density and intensity here, vital, energetic passages which are dizzying to watch. Her fingers move as if possessed, delivering lightning fast arpeggios and improbable clusters of notes.

Wagner’s most recent album, Study Of The Invisible, from which tonight’s pieces were taken, used electronic compositions as its starting point, out of which Wagner produced amazingly intricate piano versions. Watching her perform a piece like Suzanne Ciani’s ‘Rain’, wherein she seemed to turn her piano into a stream of liquid, coruscating notes and textures, will stay with this writer forever. A truly transcendent and vital musician, and a truly memorable concert.

Thanks to Dean.

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.

Various Artists – Fictions

The latest release from Crammed Discs’ reinvigorated Made To Measure series is described as a compendium of ‘wordless fiction’. Curated by Crammed Discs co-founder Marc Hollander (Aksak Maboul), the album compiles eight tailor-made pieces that navigate a path between ambient, soundscapes, adventurous electronics and modern classical stylings.

While the pieces here are new, there is a sense of reverence through the inclusion of a track by Benjamin Lew and Tuxedomoon’s Steven Brown. The pair originally worked together during Made To Measure’s initial years, releasing Douzième Journée: Le Verbe, La Parure, L’Amour in 1982 and its follow-up A Propos D’Un Paysage in 1985, creating mesmerising and innovative clashes between tapes of African music and electronics. After hooking up again at a Made To Measure event in 2019, they found themselves rekindling a creative partnership, and their track – ‘A.D. Sur La Carte’ – is a haunting stew of inquisitive synths and mournful trumpet that together feel amorphous and ephemeral.

Another Made To Measure alumnus is Pascal Gabriel, here appearing in his Stubbleman alias. Gabriel released his critically-acclaimed Mountains And Plains audio travelogue for the label in 2019 and has collaborated with Crammed Discs and Aksak Maboul in the past. His piece finds him working with Norweigian trumpet player Nils Petter Molvær. ‘Ne Pas Se Pencher Au Dehors’ has definite soundtrack credentials, the melodic synth refrain and more direct trumpet playing that comes in after two minutes sounding (to me) like the perfect accompaniment to Michael J. Fox’s final scene in Bright Lights, Big City as he watches the sun rise over Manhattan’s East River and contemplates starting his life afresh.

Elsewhere, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith delivers a cascade of burbling synths on ‘Waterways’, managing to enrich analogue sounds with an aquatic sense of motion, over which floats a pretty xylophone motif. LA’s Mary Lattimore is an artist that has truly redefined approaches to playing the venerable harp, and her ‘Bird’ offers up a sweet, heart-wrenching duet with electronics that is simultaneously hopeful yet thwarted, as if gazing wistfully on the fleeting nature of existence.

Not that these are all delicate, gentle sonic experiments. French composer and sound artist Félicia Atkinson’s ‘The Sun, Perhaps Three Of Them’ bristles with wild energy, a central white noise drone and what could be a voice is nothing short of chilling, while Christina Vantzou’s tone poem ‘Museum Critic’ use of out-of-place found sound to catch you off guard and knock you out of the meditative state provided by other tracks here.

Taken as a whole, Fictions represents an absorbing, inspiring collection onto which you can write your own personal narrative.

Fictions was released October 14 2022 by Crammed Discs / Made To Measure

Thanks to Jim at Ampersand and PG.

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.

Seaming To / Leverton Fox – IKLECTIC, London 11.06.2022

Seaming To

Seaming To is a London-born vocalist, sound artist and multi-instrumentalist whose most recent release, ‘Natural Process’, was released earlier this year by Lo Recordings. Her set saw her switch vocal stylings between sibilant sounds, anguished outbursts and warm jazz-like torch singing, while her musical accompaniment veered from gently pulsing synths to mounrful clarinet.

Leverton Fox

Leverton Fox – a trio of Isambard Khroustaliov, Tim Giles and Alex Bonney – release their new album In The Flicker later this week. Fully improvised, much of the recording was undertaken outside in the Sussex countryside, imbuing its pieces with a delicate, naturalistic sound. The trio approximated that external influence by deploying field recordings alongside a rich, undulating web of electronics, augmentted by Bonney’s pocket trumpet and Giles’ percussion.

IKLECTIC faces an uncertain future following a potentially catastrophic planning application that would see the venue, its neighbouring city farm and park replaced by yet more needless construction. It doesn’t have to be this way. Sign the change.org petition to give IKLECTIC the best chance of continuing its vital, exciting programming.

Thanks to Andrew Plummer and Oli Richards.

(c) 2022 Further.

Espen J. Jörgensen / Rupert Lally – Stillium Partita (archive review)

Ten years ago, Espen J. Jörgensen and Rupert Lally released Stillium Partita, heralding the start of a vital distance collaboration which produced a rich seam of albums and projects together while never once managing to go over old ground or repeat themselves.

According to Lally, I was one of the first to pick up on the album, reviewing the release for my Documentary Evidence blog. To commemorate its anniversary, the duo recorded a video about the release, its creation and how they feel about it now. The video also features my thoughts on the album, a decade on. An edited version of my original review appears below the video.

Espen J. Jörgensen, a Norwegian documentary film-maker, fan of circuit-bent instruments and one-time collaborator with Simon Fisher Turner on the Soundescapes album that Mute released in 2011, has launched his own label – No Studio – and crafted an album with Swiss-based ex pat Rupert Lally entitled Stillium Partita. Consisting of seventeen electronic tracks that manage to blend together chilled-out Global Communication-style synthetic ambience with some more harsh, gritty sound sources, Stillium Partita arrived quietly and with little notice via Bandcamp in July 2012.

Like Soundescapes, which arose from a chance encounter, what would become Stillium Partita started with a simple question. “Rupert asked Simon and I if he could do a remix of the track ‘Soundescaped’,” explains Jörgensen by email. “I didn’t know Rupert then, but he had done a remix of something which was included in Simon’s score for The Great White Silence. I thought the ‘Soundescaped’ remix was okay, but I thought Rupert’s personal stuff was way better, and I thought, though I was burnt out and all, that his stuff could be interesting with my stuff.”

At this point, Jörgensen wasn’t sure whether to make any more music. “I was tired and I wanted to quit,” he continues. “But I thought, ‘What the heck. Let’s ask him if he wants to do something,’ and Rupert said yes. It was as simple as that.” As with Soundescapes, tracks for Stillium Partita would start with Jörgensen compiling sounds which would then be sent to Lally to add his own ideas.

Tracks like opener ‘Åpen Sår’, ‘Cobalt Night’ or the majestic ‘Gefangen’ have a sort of glitchy, electronic soundtrack quality to them, full of complex layers, burbling synth patterns, delicate melodies and a rich array of almost industrial noise effects; ‘Skallax’ goes further into the noise oeuvre with a central ‘riff’ that could have come from either a transmitting modem or a ZX Spectrum computer game tape loading up. Despite such ear-challenging interludes, Jörgensen confirms that, unlike on Soundscapes where his sounds were processed to the point of unrecognisability by Simon Fisher Turner, the intention on his collaboration with Lally was to allow for more straightforward electronic sources to be incorporated.

“It doesn’t feel like a bad follow up to Soundescapes, as it’s a very different thing,” explains Jörgensen on the different approach taken through working with Lally. “When I record stuff, I’m kind of finished with it. I send it out, and insist that my collaborator only use the best bits, or the bits they connect with. From there I think it’s best that they do whatever they want to do in that moment; it’s best that they give a 100% on their front, and if it means that they only use a fragment from my recordings, then fine, that’s the best decision. So Rupert’s used my stuff as either background ‘noise’, things which he looped, or things that played the main theme. And I’m glad he did, I’m glad he put so much of himself into this. Simon added a few recordings to Soundescapes, but it was 98% my recordings. I’m sure if Rupert just edited my stuff it would sound different, but I´m glad he added synths, beats and guitars himself. He took my recordings to a different level.”

If Stillium Partita has a major reference point, it would be the electronic soundtracks that emerged most prominently in the Eighties, the interest in which has been rekindled and updated through the likes of Cliff Martinez and his pulsing score for Drive. Icy synth melodies converge with slowly-evolving rhythms and layers of more challenging, Rephlex-esque beats, sounds and textures. Whilst not conceived as a soundtrack at all, while listening to pieces like the expansive and ethereal ‘What’s The Film In Your Head?’ or the menacing, deep ‘Structure & Analysis’, you do find yourself wondering how these sounds might interact with scenes in some imaginary movie.

Jörgensen is emphatic that there wasn’t a plan at all for how these tracks ended up. “I approached Rupert because his take on music is very different from Simon’s. Lally’s stuff was more synth-driven. I’m not going to say that Rupert belongs to a category, but he’s this guy who knows a lot about programs and so on, plus is good at playing and arranging. He uses a lot of soft synths and I wanted to have a contrast to my stuff, which can be very harsh or organic, sound-wise. Rupert felt that the music was genre-less, though I think the album hat tips to certain sounds and ideas. That´s Lally´s fault since he actually knows how to play. But I like it. It has a great contrast sound-wise.”

As was the case when recording Soundescapes with Simon Fisher Turner, Jörgensen and Lally have never actually met. “Ironically, Simon and I finally met at the Great White Silence live performance here in Norway, which was after Soundescapes was made,” says Jörgensen. “We said that we could only work together because there was a distance, and now that we’ve met there can’t be another collaboration. Luckily, I haven’t met Rupert which means that there might be another release or two to come.”

Stillium Partita by Espen J. Jörgensen and Rupert Lally was released 15 July 2012.

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.
An earlier version of this reviewed appeared on Documentary Evidence in 2012

Mortality Tables: Goodparley – Two Meditations For Freya

MORTALITY TABLES
GOODPARLEY – TWO MEDITATIONS FOR FREYA

digital EP released today | remixes by Alka & Xqui

mortalitytables.bandcamp.com

Two improvised pieces for guitar. Recorded by Oli Richards (Goodparley) on 10 February 2022 in response to a concept by Mat Smith.

1. Meditation Twenty-Four (i) (For Freya)
2. Meditation Twenty-Four (ii) (For Freya)
3. Meditation Twenty-Four (i) (For Freya) – Alka Remix
4. Meditation Twenty-Four (ii) (For Freya) – Xqui Remix

Response: Oli Richards
Concept: Mat Smith
Mastering: John@SEODAH
Design: Neil Coe

A Mortality Tables Product
MTP10

CONCEPT NOTES BY MAT SMITH

‘Two Meditations For Freya’ is a sound response to anxiety.

On 10 January 2022, my youngest daughter found herself too scared to sleep. She was never a great sleeper as a baby and toddler, and now, as a teenager, often struggles to relax enough for bed.

This night was different, however. She seemed to be gripped by an intense and unrelenting panic which she could not explain. In context, she had been receiving weekly cognitive behavioural therapy treatment for anxiety and depression through CHUMS, a Bedfordshire charity focused on helping young people cope with mental health issues. She’d had one of her weekly sessions earlier that day and it seemed to have triggered something inside her, but she could not – or perhaps would not – articulate it.

In an effort to help her, I offered to stay in her room so that she could feel safe and reassured enough to drift off. As she tossed and turned, I decided to practice some guided meditation in the midnight darkness of her room. She eventually fell asleep while listening to the rhythm of my breath. For the next week, we practiced short meditations together every night just before bed, and she slept better every night that week.

Around that time I was working with Oli Richards as he prepared his album Meditations Vol. 1 for release by Wormhole World. The album collected five improvised guitar ‘meditations’, each one recorded in the first few minutes after he woke up in the morning. Oli had begun releasing these pieces in November 2021, and I had been struck by their beauty and simplicity. I began seeing them as brief moments of acute stillness in which to detach from the world, and support my own meditation practice.

I approached Oli with the story of how Freya couldn’t sleep and asked if he’d consider recording an improvisation for her, to support the meditations she and I were doing together. His recordings were made on 10 February 2022 at his home in Cardiff. They were originally released through Oli’s Bandcamp page later the same day.

All proceeds from this release will go to CHUMS. CHUMS provides mental health and emotional wellbeing support for children, young people and their families.
chums.uk.com

ABOUT GOODPARLEY

Goodparley (Oli Richards) is a Cardiff-based musician and sound artist. His sounds are largely based around improvised ambient guitar loops and textures, manipulated in real-time using various modulating effects to create inherently experimental soundscapes.
goodparley.bandcamp.com

ABOUT MORTALITY TABLES

“In an effort to circumvent our unalterable mortality, we create. We make SOUNDS, ART, WORDS. These things are our INSURANCE against death.”
– Mortality Tables, On Mortality, Immortality & Charles Ives (2022)

E Peritia Ratio: reason from experience.

Nothing happens without context. Every event has a catalyst. There is no such thing as a blank page.

So it goes that each Mortality Tables Product must begin with an outline of an initial creative concept – a thought; a notion; a moment of serious whimsy; a considered reflection on life, memory, love, loss, trauma, death.

We document those ideas, then invite collaborators to respond freely to them.

They may ignore us. They may say no. They may say yes. Whoever we invite to participate shall be unencumbered by restriction, constraint, expectation, convention, limit or judgement.

There are never any right or wrong answers, because there are no questions. There is nothing more than the idea and the response.

Mortality Tables
Est. Bloomsbury, 2019
mortality-tables.com
Mortality Tables illustration by Savage Pencil

(c) 2022 Mortality Tables

Hems / Merkaba Macabre / Pagan Red / Sybil – IKLECTIC, London 11.06.2022

New label Titrate took over South London’s IKLECTIK for a night of modular electronic adventures interspersed with a drones ‘n’ tones DJ set from Sybil.

Pagan Red

Pagan Red’s set, featuring material that will form an upcoming release on Titrate, was all about that bass. After beginning with ghostly voices that are possibly about physics, a pulse emerges like a heartbeat rendered like a dub riddim, eventually replaced by quickening pattern that approximates rave or techno. The unbroken composition features undulating bass tones that fuck with your sense of perception, being focused and resolute yet open-minded enough to permit gentle, almost imperceptible changes to appear.

Merkaba Macabre

The last time I came upon Steven McInerney was with his film ‘A Creak In Time’, featuring a soundtrack from Howlround. ‘Trilateral Descent’, his performance as Merkaba Macabre, combines 16mm projections and modular synth patterns, in part triggered by three light sensors affixed to the wall of the performance space. The result is a suite of rapid fluctuations and intense, bass-heavy pulses gathering pace, while the imagery alternates between shots of woodland and twisting, mind-melting geometric lines. Imagine Disney’s Fantasia hacked by Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable set to a vibrant modular score and you’ll be somewhere close.

Hems

The headline from Hems set begins with a conversation, about what or who I can’t tell, before evolving into a shadowy, indeterminate soundfield. White noise and gradually intensifying sound waves give way to a soft whooshing, a singular crash providing a precursor to a rhythm that only arrives much later. From where I stand at the sound desk someone bites into a crisp; someone’s wristwatch advises that it’s 2300; a person orders a drink at the bar outside. These sounds are somehow integral, though accidental. An intensifying crackle, like a transmission from elsewhere, is sparse and spooky. A nascent kick drum reaches rave-y intensity before falling back into nothingness, replaced by a snarling, intense pattern that seems to appear out of nowhere, set to a recurrence of that solitary kick drum. In contrast to his debut release for Titrate, Chaotic Affair, Henrique Matias’ set is unnervingly brutal yet intensely subtle.

Based on the performances tonight, Titrate is definitely a label to watch.

Words and bad photography: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.

The Tapeworm: Alex The Fairy / The Howling / Blood Music

Three new ferric masterpieces from the endlessly-uncoiling Tapeworm imprint.

Can I Hear The Sound Of A Falling Branch is the latest missive from Alex The Fairy (Alexander Catlin Freytag), who manages to sidestep the expected norms of minimal electronic music by offering a series of mostly canapé-sized pieces. ‘Waking Up In Your Bed’ is a fast-paced electro cut whose crisp and frenetic rhythm is offset by murmuring synths and drones that recall the fogginess of a gap-filled night.

The brilliantly-titled ‘There’s A Cashier On The Beach They’re Scanning Pebbles Very Quickly’ is full of layers of crisscrossing bleeps that sound like saxophone blurts over a beat that lurches along like a sunbather with heatstroke, while ‘Green White’ offers woodblock percussion, a low-slung bassline and wobbly, indecipherable vocal interjections. Final track ‘User Sale’ is the Double Big Mac to the sliders elsewhere, a hypnotic, eleven-minute, restless banger built from a relentless, sinewy synth sequence and crisp, resolute techno beat.

The second cassette comes from The Howling – broadcaster and writer Ken Hollings and Robin The Fog’s Howlround project. Both sides feature a short snippet of narrated text from Hollings looped, processed and manipulated in real-time using to reel-to-reel tape machines. The result is like an updated take on Alvin Lucier’s ‘I Am Sitting In A Room’, except that Hollings wasn’t at home but at the Wimpy Bar on Streatham High Street. After listening to approximately 360 brilliantly evolving iterations of the b-side’s single enquiry – “Are you man enough for Mega Force?” – pushed through Howlround’s macho manipulations, I can confirm, regrettably, that I’m probably not.

Completing May’s wormy triptych is Blood Music’s For The Vagus Nerve. The project of London’s Simon Pomery, here we find Blood Music offering two weighty dronescapes, each laden with weighty power electronics and tense guitar distortion. Like all the best drones, there’s two games being played here – the intense fluctuations occupying the foreground and the more delicate, overlapping microtonal oscillations off in the background. Less music to relax meditate to and more music to dissect and dismember to, For The Vagus Nerve is a brutal, all-encompassing listen best played extremely, nay offensively, loud, ideally when your neighbours are having a garden party next door and the smoke from their barbecue is making your freshly-washed smalls smell like burning flesh. Uncompromising, violent and beautiful, replete with a macabre narrative from Pomery not unlike a philosophical Patrick Bateman delivered while draped in a victim’s entrails.

Can I Hear The Sound Of A Falling Branch by Alex The Fairy, All Hail Mega Force by The Howling and For The Vagus Nerve by Blood Music were released May 20 2022 by The Tapeworm: www.thetapeworm.org.uk

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.

Rupert Lally – Forgotten Futures

I recently found myself watching a National Geographic documentary about the 1986 Challenger disaster. I was nine years old when that tragedy unfolded over Florida. I remember vividly watching it on Newsround when I got home from school and again on the evening news with my father. I hadn’t realised until I watched the film, but that was probably the first time I became aware of death. It also seemed to end my fascination with all things space and science fiction, which had been an obsession thanks to growing up with the Star Wars movies.

Rupert Lally’s Forgotten Futures reminded me of that day and that life pivot. The premise of Lally’s album, originally recorded for Lost Futures magazine, was to look back on his own childhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As he acknowledges, memory is a troublesome companion – whereas, at the time, we might have been filled with hope, optimism and the dreams of a thousand possible futures, with the benefit of hindsight we often see things differently. So it was for Lally while recording Forgotten Futures. On the title track we find him running through a list of futuristic visions that all seemed possible back then, but which now seem fanciful and a long way out of reach – except for TVs in kitchens and slightly limited approximations of smart homes – brings to mind how utterly disappointing those exciting versions of the future actually were. (Growing up, my vision of the future was basically informed by the Smash mashed potato adverts. The future has definitely not lived up to those expectations.)

This is undoubtedly one of Lally’s most introspective albums. Not dark, per se, but certainly more questioning and reflective than some of his other material. Pieces like ‘Everything We Leave Behind’ and ‘Kaleidoscope’ have an unresolved, restless and often thwarted dimension to them. Central to those tracks, and in fact every track on the album, is an undulating, queasy edge to the sounds as if each one has had its pitch changed in real-time. A a plot device, that technique is a useful way of evoking how memories become less certain over time, how they change, and how we question their accuracy through the lens of contemporaneity. For me, that sound nostalgically reminds me of buying a battered 7-inch of ‘(Keep Feeling) Fascination’ by Human League. The electronic horn melody on that song sounds a little out-of-tune at the best of times, but when your copy of the single is warped so badly that the vinyl looks like a circular walk through hills and valleys, any sense of euphoria in that riff is brutally suppressed. It remains one of my most disappointing charity shop purchases.

‘The Lost Places’ finds Lally recounting a dream where he revisits the town of his childhood – the architecture, the restaurant he’d visit with his father, the supermarket he frequented with his mother and the basement carpark beneath that still fills him with fear. His delivery is detached and uncertain, reflecting that recurring idea of a disappointed nostalgia and how our memories deal with joy and trauma over time. It is a deeply personal – yet completely relatable – moment, and one that seems to unlock the critical sentiment of this ruminative album.

Forgotten Futures by Rupert Lally was released May 6 2022.

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2022 Further.