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Inspired by the Rest Zone of the long-defunct Millennium Dome, their latest LP draws on the pair’s shared sense of millennial melancholia across twelve tracks of submerged songwriting and woozy ambience. Combining unorthodox production techniques, with an ear for melody, the result is a spellbinding reflection on growing up with the 21st century.
Fresh from scoring Mark Leckey’s Tate Britain exhibition, this marks an exciting chapter for two of the UK’s most innovative rising musicians.
Lung Dart are Tim Clay and James Rapson. Having met at university in Leeds, the pair have been releasing music since 2015, more recently from a base in South-East London. The last few years have been spent perfecting their distinct sound; music that contains the texture of environments, scattered with field recordings from everyday places. In that time they’ve held a regular show on NTS Radio, released an album, ‘As I Lay Drying’ (2016), an EP, ‘Some Other Hunger’ (2017), as well as contributing to Hot Chip man Alexis Taylor’s solo LP ‘With(out) Piano’. Alongside this the pair have produced scoring work which has been shown at Tate Modern, Barbican Centre, BFI London Film Festival, Somerset House, Berlin Film Festival among other others.
All the while, though, their focus has been moving towards something bigger. An album that captured their fascination with memory, and the ways in which sounds and feelings change and decay over time. In ‘Slouching Toward Meridian’, they have produced just that.
Created for the dawn of a new century, the Millennium Dome has come to be seen as a symbol of the failed optimism of the 1990s. For Lung Dart, though, it represents something else. Through conversations about the space, the pair recalled how it felt when they visited on school trips as children. The wonder it provoked, the atmosphere it created: idealistic and hopeful. Built on the Greenwich peninsula, where time “literally begins”, the Dome was a monument to a bygone age of hopefulness – a mood that coloured the childhoods of a generation now approaching their thirties.
In particular, Lung Dart remember the Millennium Dome’s Rest Zone – a section of the exhibition dedicated to wellness and renewal, where visitors were invited to lie down and let soft, pulsing lights wash over them. The experience was soundtracked by the Longplayer, a 1000-year long composition played on singing bowls due to finish its repetitive cycles some time in 2999. It was in this strange, turn-of-the-century sanctuary, that the duo first heard ambient music – it’s a place they’ve never forgotten. For a band concerned with memory, this pocket of peace has come to represent a calm before the storm – a distinctly relatable ennui for children of the nineties, who came of age as the supercharged world of the future began to crash.
‘Slouching Towards Meridian’ then, sits in the foggy terrain between the optimism of childhood and the slump of the present day. Far from being defeatist or nostalgic, it is concerned with the disorienting sensations of growing up and remembering; an album about memories of the future.
The LP also contains their most direct music to date, as the pair swap obscured melodies for comparatively clear singing. Take “How?”, for instance, a plaintive ballad that blooms through the rolling fug of cloudy organs; or penultimate track “A Thousand People Floating”, which blends Rapson’s vulnerable vocal performance with soaring trance-like euphoria. Elsewhere, their ability to create soundscapes that are once unplaceable while feeling strangely familiar is on full display. Instrumental “AV Duet” bobs and weaves with childlike energy, while “Before the Crash” sets burnt woodwinds against a gently clanking beat.
For the artwork, artist Adam Bletchly created a visual composite of graphic queues from the Millennium Dome’s visual identity – a tableau of grayscale skies and golden horizons, including discreetly placed photos of Clay and Rapson as children. Like the record, it’s a vision of many things, all united by Lung Dart’s hue.
Lung Dart’s beguiling new record marks a moment of realisation for a duo who have been gently pushing the boundaries of experimental music for a few years. With the release of ‘Slouching Toward Meridian’, their singular vision feels clearer than ever.
1. CH Edit II
2. Outline For Morning
5. AV Duet
6. 6am (Ambient Mix)
7. Maintaining A Healthy Gut
8. Before The Crash
9. Connecting Nothing With Nothing
11. A Thousand People Floating