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NIGHT SCHOOL RECORDS

Apostille

Prisoners Of Love And Hate

    Prisoners Of Love And Hate is an offering to community, to desires that imprison and liberate, to people in all their divinity and ugliness. Apostille - aka Night School Records’ captain Michael Kasparis - presents his third album with a bang, a bursting ball of NRG, empathy and bristling living.

    Like its predecessor Choose Life, Prisoners... was recorded in Full Ashram Celestial Garden in Glasgow with Lewis Cook (Free Love) through 2022. A 9 song treatise on Pop music, trauma, ecstasy and the mundanities between the extremes, Kasparis takes on classic 80s Synth Pop, 90s House music, 00’s Trance, wistful balladry, 70’s Power Pop. The thread that runs through the album is a boundless energy, an openness to the moment, to living the pains and joys equally, open armed.

    This is a place of no judgement, of possibility, challenge and comfort. The nine songs on Prisoners... can be read as separate ruminations on the feelings and desires that imprison our experience. Through it all the narrator struggles against them, transported and fooled by love and longing, peering through the bars of anguish, flailing in a cell of emotions. Saturday Night, Still Breathing breaks the album open with an invigorating scream and pounds into the night with a nod to Whigfield, Kasparis’ Punk roots and House music. Over a thumping 909 kick and bassline, Kasparis pens a love letter to being with people, the collective energy of hearts in a room, thrumming together, making it through together. Written as private ritual magic, manifesting community during a time of isolation, it’s as if the party is the most important thing in the world. Rely On Me imagines 80s Mute Synth Pop, Erasure fronted by Bruce Springsteen, romance doomed and forever perfect in the mind. Spit Pit completes the opening triptych of fast paced rollercoasters, an ode to childhood forged out of change and discomfort told with a bold, epic production by Lewis Cook, AFX breakbeats, 160BPM kicks and a commanding vocal performance.

    On People Make This City, Kasparis eases off the gas, lets the mist blowing in from the Clyde River blow over his version of Glasgow. A wistful ballad about small town gossip and coming through anger to leaving it all behind, it provides some shadow to the bright light of the vibrancy of the album. Natural Angel owes much to 70s and 80s power pop, guitar melodrama, Thin Lizzy and Rick Springfield through the prism of co-dependence in relationships. It’s a theme that’s picked up in slow burner Nothing But Perfect, a hazy synth soul-inflected song about building your own mythology, constructing a dream to hide in, to hold on to. The most surprising track of the album, Summer of ’03 re-imagines the Trance music of early naughties Europe into a lament for an eternal summer or as a fan once put it, “Meat Loaf with a donk on it.” A recognition that all ecstasy has tragedy laced within it, it’s a theme that is sewn through out the LP and continued on the final song Feel Good (You Can Make Me). Referencing Shalamar’s 1982 mega hit by way of N-Trance’s piano riffs, the epic closer is riddled with heartbreak, vulnerability and power. It’s a testament to the new confidence in Kasparis’s songwriting, sure, but also to the enduring power of people to come together in mutual dependence and love. If ecstasy is always laced with tragedy, the Prisoners of Love and Hate can always reach out between the bars to meet in the middle, the eternal now.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Saturday Night, Still Breathing
    2. Rely On Me
    3. Spit Pit
    4. People Make This City
    5. Natural Angel
    6. Disease To Please
    7. Nothing But Perfect
    8. Summer Of 0’3
    9. Feel Good (You Can Make Me)

    Frankie Rose

    Love As Projection

      "This album is about having to focus our collective energies on the small things around that we can control to find joy. A distraction from the larger systemic problems that feel so overwhelming and are so very out of our collective hands... for now...”

      Love As Projection is the new album by Frankie Rose, her fifth studio LP and second for Night School following the reissue of her interpretation of The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds. Frankie Rose has forged an enviable musical legacy, from playing with bands like Crystal Stilts and The Vivian Girls but on Love As Projection she takes a bold step into electronic pop production. A sumptuous recorded statement, it dances in ecstasy and broods on the tumult of the western world’s decay in equal proportion. At the heart of the album is glowing, confident songwriting, resplendent in hooks and choruses but still touched with an optimism undimmed.

      After spending nearly two decades establishing herself across New York and Los Angeles independent music circles, Rose re-emerges after six years with a fresh form, aesthetic, and ethos. Celebrated over the years for her expansive approach to songwriting, lush atmospherics, and transcendent vocal melodies and harmonies, Love As Projection is a reintroduction of her established style through the lens of contemporary electronic pop. Recorded with producer Brandt Gassman and mixed with long-term collaborator Jorge Elbrecht this is the album Frankie Rose has been building up to her entire career.

      More than a rebirth, a refinement, a resurgence, Love As Projection boasts a widescreen scope: a long- form project heavily considered for half of a decade, culminating in the most personal and accessible collection of art-pop that Frankie has ever written. When Rose aims for the pop jugular as in first lead track Anything, the result is unstoppable. A majestic pop song built for radio, it erupts into an irresistible chorus that marries classic epic 80s American pop with the cult effervescence of Strawberry Switchblade “It’s like a prom scene in a John Hughes movie. It’s a hopeful song about abandoning fear even if the world is quite literally on fire.. In the end, at least we have each other,” says Rose. Sixteen Ways further boasts a propulsive, massive chorus, though tempered by a cynicism built in global post-truth, global malaise. “It’s about getting your hopes up, but simultaneously making lists in your head about how it will never work out in your favour.”

      The big anthems don’t let up there. On DOA some massive, rolling drums lathered in big mid-80s gated reverb dovetail with a syncopated baseline for the ages as Rose’s vocal sails effortlessly above. The effect isn’t unlike ethereal vocalists Clannad circa Howard’s Way or Enya jamming with Simple Minds in their stadium-conquering heyday. Rose tempers the adrenalin with heart-tugging bittersweet tones and there are plenty of them. Sleeping Night And Day takes its time with an off-the-cuff chorus, swirling around in harmony and chorus-bass. Saltwater Girl picks up the balladeering baton with another nod to album track-mode Switchblade, deep space opening up in the mid-tempo drum track and soupy, digital atmospherics. Album closer Song For A Horse, reimagines modern Pop production a-la-PC Music but shorn of the meta-atmosphere. Pianos, swelling synths, minor keys cut through with major. These moments, also seen in Feel Light offer ballast to the soaring pop choruses. Moments like these are big oceans of emotion to fall into before being led out by Rose into a bright new day.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Love As Projection takes all of the sheen of 80's synth pop and injects it with a modern take on songwriting and structure, with the IDIB brand of melodic, euphoric electronica clearly an influence. It's both warmly nostalgic and beautifully written, as evocative as you'd ever want.

      TRACK LISTING

      01. Sixteen Ways
      02. Anything
      03. Had It Wrong
      04. Saltwater Girl
      05. Feel Light
      06. DOA
      07. Sleeping Night And Day
      08. Molotov In Stereo
      09. Come Back
      10. Song For A Horse

      Erasers

      Constant Connection

        On their third album Constant Connection, West Australian-based Erasers create hypnotic compositions of synth, guitar and voice, evoking the vast expanse of their native landscape and the shrouded emotions behind the senses. Comprising of vocalist, synth player Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas on guitar and synths, Erasers have developed their earthly kosmische music into an open language based on drone, variation in repetition and minimal song structures. Based in Perth, regarded one of the most isolated cities in the world, Orchard and Thomas’s music has brewed in the city’s vibrant DIY/Outsider community and evolved into a meditation on landscape, power, the shadow-world of human emotions and stream of consciousness. Constant Connection, with its waves of sound and chant-like vocals evokes a trance that suggests an infinity just beyond the senses.

        At the heart of each Erasers composition is the interplay between the instrumentation, played with stoic restraint and recorded directly with minimal effects and the transcendental states induced in the listener. It’s a magic that is performed in plain sight and all the more powerful for it. The recognisable vibrato of Fender Rhodes keyboards and simple drum machine loops, the subtle strands of analog synth melodies that snake in and out of the ear, above all the towering encantations of Rebecca Orchard’s undeniably Australian-accented hymns; all of this is presented with minimal ostentation and yet it instantly engenders a dream state, hints at an infinity beyond the material.

        Shades of John Cale’s 70s work with Nico, early 70s German synthesists Kluster and even fellow Australians Fabulous Diamonds can be seen as stylistic touchstones for Constant Connection. Where Nico hinted at the macabre and gothic, Rebecca Orchard’s similarly gliding vocal is more zoned in to a kind of oceanic openness, with words becoming chants and spells that suggested themselves to the singer during recording sessions. It’s this hidden hand of improvisatory, automatic writing that lends a sense of expanse to the music. On opener I Understand, while the lyrics might hint at discontent the emotional spectrum it opens up is far more rich and complex, as layered as the waves of droning chords that are the bedrock of each Erasers track. The title track talks of flow, continuum and balance, the protagonist in the song seemingly weightless, gently pulled through a walking reality that borders on dream. In Erasers’ world, it seems, the borders between reality and dream, consciousness and sub-consciousness are blurred and eroded.

        On Constant Connection, Erasers’ music might be deeply evocative of landscape but it’s never clear which one. The vast, open terrain that surrounds Perth is dusty, burned by the sun into desert and Constant Connection feels like the product of the heat and relative isolation, the altered states these elements can create. But it’s these altered states of mind that appear to be the real landscape described by Erasers. It’s a landscape that’s hazy, in-and-out of focus, with emotional undertows pushing and pulling you into a weightlessness. On album closer Easy To See the band dispense with percussion all together, field recordings of the water at the edge of their native city ushering in two duetting synths. Orchard’s vocal undulates with the flow, viewing both the geographical and psychological landscape from the perspective of a consciousness not bound by bodies and from a timescale measured in millennia. The album ends as it begins, with field recordings of the real world that the music seeps out from, temporarily, before regressing back into the other realm it feels like it belongs to.

        Between these two recorded hints of reality, Erasers manifest a deeply sensual dreamscape that constantly feels like it’s dissolving at its seams. A desert psychedelia emanating from a real world that might not be that real in the first place.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. I Understand
        2. You See
        3. Constant Connection
        4. Tending To Twenty
        5. Folding
        6. A Breeze
        7. Away From It All
        8. Easy To See

        'Twenty-Twenty' is Molly Nilsson’s 8th album; the latest opus of an artist in a constant state of development and strength. 'Twenty-Twenty' is about emerging from the husk of your old self, about binning the chrysalis and daring to stand up both to power, and also to your own limits. In 2018, we see the climate changing, democracy crumbling, inequality and injustice erupting. 2020 examines the near future, seeking out clarity, reflection, renewal and opportunity. It contains anthems so tall as to induce vertigo, leaving the taste of Euro Dance in your mouth, albeit without a four on the floor beat. Here, the pop auteur is haunted by the late Prince, channelling Courtney Love and Lou Reed, anger and love.

        Recorded as ever in her own Lighthouse Studios and co-released with her imprint Dark Skies Association, the record is consistent in strategy and approach to past releases, yet on 2020 Nilsson pushes the limits of what can be said in the scope of a pop song even further. Despite working with used keyboard sounds that evoke memories of a distorted past, the sound is distinctly contemporary. The record drifts between playful punk methods and hi-fi ideas, strikingly clear through the fuzz of a surrounding world painted with reverb. Rather than gracefully dissecting, 2020 rips apart personal neuroses and insecurities, looking for the roots of issues and the equation that, when solved, will produce the future. “I don’t care if the world is through, every night is new,” 2020 erupts with fist-in-the-air empowerment, a realization that if we’re all alone down here, we can still make it. Every Night Is New is a personal and societal manifesto, a slogan comprising the different layers that make this record Molly Nilsson’s most personal, evocative and emotionally packed in years. First single Serious Flowers is a naked confessional trance hit stripped of its beat. Centred around broken trust and friendship, Nilsson sings over suspenseful synth strings with a vocal delivery so inexact and honest, its vulnerability seems almost unaware of itself. Although very much in the vein of Nilsson’s production style on her recent albums, Days of Dust, accomplishes escape and breaks free from the past. There’s a carpe diem immediacy to this fast-paced Rock Song that belies Nilsson’s near-iconic self-contained delivery: “Like I had just been saved from a burning building of desire, I got back up and I ran right into the fire.” It’s so immediate, and speaks so perfectly about the nature of desire, that you wonder how you’d never thought about it like that before.

        The themes on the album are submerged in the inner life, lucidly dreaming with one eye open, fixated on the external world and its growing pains. Nilsson turns inward and seeks answers to questions imposed by physical existence, examining one's own responsibility in the face of climate change (A Slice of Lemon), the political depression of society (Gun Control), and the struggles with drinking, between euphoria and despair (Blinded by the Night). The serious topics aren't met with hopelessness; the tone suggests defenceless optimism and a tight grip on desire. This time around, we’re not examining the past with Molly Nilsson, we’re becoming who we want to be. We’re exploring the future, accepting who we are, clear eyed and with perfect vision, near and far sighted alike.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Every Night Is New
        2. A Slice Of Lemon
        3. Out Of The Blue
        4. Your Shyness
        5. Intermezzo: My Mental Motorcycle
        6. Serious Flowers
        7. I'm Your Fan
        8. Gun Control
        9. Days Of Dust
        10. Blinded By The Night


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