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Robin Richards, principle composer in the band Dutch Uncles announces Castel, his debut solo EP. A stunning six pieces, Castel draws on everything from Gregorian chanting to Steve Reich-esque minimalism and rhythm-led musique concrète. Robin Richards: ""Toompea" is set during the Estonian fight for independence, and is an exploration of the impact political that Soviet oppression in the Baltics had on native artists in the 70s and 80s. It's written in three movements, and named it after the ancient castle which houses the parliament of Estonia."

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: We always knew Robin Richards was one wacked-out quirky weirdo (in the best sense!), but this proves it! Completely uncategorizable but genius in every way!

Lung Dart

Slouching Towards Meridian

    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.

    Haiku Salut

    There Is No Elsewhere

      ‘There Is No Elsewhere’ is Haiku Salut’s third album and sees the acclaimed trio from Derbyshire continue their distinctive re-imagining of dreampop and rural electronica. Influenced by the evocative film soundtracks of Yann Tiersen and Benoit Charest, the genre-melting electronica of early Mum, and the impressionistic writing of Haruki Murakami, the band have previously released two critically acclaimed albums whilst last year they collaborated with Public Service Broadcasting on the track “They Gave Me A Lamp”, which featured on the PSB’s top five album, Every Valley. Yet it is this release that sees the band finally find their place, both musically and politically.

      “It is an album about occupying your space, being proud of what you believe in and who you are,” says Sophie Barkerwood from the band. “It’s about making small life changes, making better decisions, writing better songs, having better conversations, knowing that these can lay foundations for change. It’s about finding who you are and not being dictated to about what you should be. It’s about celebrating others. It’s about making changes for a better future.”

      This sense of solidarity and community prompted Haiku Salut to work with Glastonbury Brass on “Cold To Crack The Stones” and “The More And Moreness”, both of which marry the band’s ambitious interweaving of electronic and organic, natural and unnatural with the triumphant warmth of a brass band in full flow (with the former featuring a manipulation of a NASA recording of pulses emitted by lightning). It also provided the emotional core of the hypnotic electronic attack of “Occupy”, the genre-melting joy of “We Are All Matter”, and the startling “I Am Who I Remind You Of”, a seven minute pastoral symphony that sees treated vocals and glitched electronica blur into tradition, history and a sense of belonging, like waking up to sunshine after a long and dazzling dream.


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