New W. H. Lung Single to Benefit Manchester Homelessness Charities
W. H. Lung are to donate the profits from their new single, Symmetry, to Manchester-based charities the Booth Centre and Mustard Tree, helping to tackle homelessness in the city. The admirable decision comes in the wake of the band having released one of the year’s most widely acclaimed albums, Incidental Music, back in April.
If, having listened to the track, the line “Alan Turing, give up the apple” sticks in your mind, here’s an explanation from vocalist Joseph E. that will contextualise it a little. “There’s a statue of Alan Turing in a small park just off Canal street in Manchester city centre. The statue has always struck me as odd, the face is quite childishly done and Turing seems to be offering his fruit to passers-by. People often sit with him and take pictures. The park is also regularly attended by the homeless community of Manchester. As visible a presence on the streets now as the statues of the great and famous.”
Check out the single below and buy it via Bandcamp or your preferred digital music platform. Band on the Wall will once again be collecting for Mustard Tree this December, so feel free to drop dried, packeted and tinned foods, plus personal hygiene items, into our collection trunk when you attend any show next month.
The Repeat Listen: Fenella – Fenella
The eponymous offering from Jane Weaver-led trio Fenella is described as a ‘reimagined soundtrack to Marcell Jankovics’ cult animation Fehérlófia’ and released as part of Fire Records’ re-imagined score series. Created with her long-term bandmates Peter Philipson and Raz Ullah between a remote cottage in north west Scotland and vintage gear haven Eve studios on the outskirts of Manchester, it’s immediately recognisable as a work of Weaver’s making. Spectrum-spanning synthesized elements — sounding powerful yet fragile with their analog character — are a dominant element of this ambiguous work, which feels broody and dark in spite of its vivid, colourful instrumentation and Weaver’s light vocal tone.
Opener Slow Swoop hears the harsh esses of Weaver’s elongated syllables ricocheting around the soundstage, recalling Linda Perhacs’ Parallelograms. Behind her gentle voice, slowly undulating synthesized sounds shift and meld, setting the tone for the following sixteen experimental pieces — most of them short in length, but a handful passing three minutes. Three Heads Rising moves from dull, brassy synth swells into a passage where a light motif and synth drones pleasingly clash, as vocals distort and stretch beyond legibility.
The warm arpeggio of Triangle Journey modulates beautifully atop a subtle drone texture, and on Truly Seduced, fizzy synths build into noisy crescendos, both tracks proving — as the entire work does — that Weaver and her collaborators aren’t afraid to push the music into challenging territory, step back and allow the machine music to create unruly magic. Penultimate cut, Gilded Griffin (the longest piece on the record at just over five minutes) is a recording for the ages: a jaw-dropping piece of electronic music that builds around a percussive, Tubular Bells-esque cycle, developing constantly with the tweaks in filter cutoff, resonance and envelope shape of the various synths at play, before bright, expressive, Tomita-esque synth leads take hold, guiding the track melodically — like a nimble, free-flying bird — to the song’s beautiful end, in which some fine electric guitar work also adds to the thick, rich arrangement.
The triumph of Fenella is that one can entirely forget the initial concept, as they become absorbed by the experimental work on show. It is remarkable purely in audio form, and undoubtedly a trip when sync’ed with the animations that inspired it. The work Weaver and her bandmates have created feels in no way stifled by the the soundtrack concept, and they’ve clearly thought deeply about how to approach the creative process, in order to achieve such dazzling results. If you’re a fan of synthesizer music from any era, you’ll certainly find something rewarding here.
New Sounds and Visuals
Multi-instrumentalist Erland Cooper and guitarist Leo Abrahams have combined to create a new, half-hour ambient record entitled Seachange. Describes as a companion piece to Cooper’s second solo LP, Sule Skerry, it appears to use manipulated voices and guitars amongst other, less easily distinguishable sounds to create the ambient soundscape. The project is split into three, but recommended as one half-hour sitting. The accompanying visual was shot by Alex Kozobolis in Cooper’s native Orkney. Check out the record here.
Aaliyah Esprit has dropped a new visual for her Future Bubblers 3.0 cut, Mind Control. Produced by Metrodome of Levelz with Yussuf Maleem (who’ve also worked as Project Apex), the tune hears a propulsive UK garage groove, lowkey rhodes chords and samples underpinning Aaliyah’s vocal. In the video, shot by Laura of The Bodhi Agency, Aaliyah is seen in a straight jacket, extending the metaphor of music’s mind-controlling powers.
Itasca‘s Spring is out today on Paradise of Bachelors, and features the astonishing album cut Only a Traveller. Beginning with a shimmering, descending acoustic guitar part, the track develops with brushed drums, stirring strings and her soft-yet-absorbing voice, into a subtle, Americana classic. Fans of Meg Baird, Joni Mitchell’s early work and Bobbie Gentry’s gentler cuts will dig it!
The new collaborative project from L’Orange & Jeremiah Jae is said to centre around ‘the mental toll of warfare’, according to a fascinating Bandcamp Daily article about its creation. That’s certainly evident on Say It All, in which Jae asses the prevalence of racist attitudes in his native country, painting a bleak picture of a battle for equality that has raged for centuries, but has yet to be won. It’s a perfectly-produced, arresting piece of conscious hip-hop that conveys an immense amount in its two-minute run time.