Visionist – No Idols

Visionist returns with his second album Value, a precise body of work which across its 10 tracks, builds on his conceptual, thematic process, finding assertion in the values of self-discipline and self-education through meticulous composition.

His debut album Safe detailed visceral soundscapes to encapsulate the experiential onslaught of an anxiety attack, and the artist’s desire to simultaneously construct and defeat notions of safety. “Value” follows this trajectory of strength and vulnerability by examining broader themes of machismo and effeminacy, self-deprecation and self-love, and self-preservation and validation. These overlapping themes manifest as a response to Visionist’s continual understanding of the role of an artist and their place within the industry. Focussing on his qualitative process allows him to evade this increasingly demanding climate, maintaining consistency by finding solace in the routine and ethos of his own practice, “I’m pretty reserved” he explains “but, within my art, it is important for me to give a part of myself.”

Through the addition for the first time of his own vocals, Visionist continues to further explore a humanistic and intimate creation. Value’s opener, ‘Self-’, sees him reimagine the vocal treatment with rapid injections, followed by crescendos of abrasive rhythm and waltz-like melodies, providing a diligent insight into the rest of the album. It’s this cross-infection of sonic landscapes and unpredictable movements that constantly question ostracisation. The title track ‘Value’ propels the listener into a brutal environment, battling neural attacks and jittery vocals, culminating in a shift of atmosphere to signify peace and fulfilment. ‘Made In Hope’ lays bare to its listener, venerated in its sparseness, sedated in its grace, with capricious ‘Invanity’ concluding proceedings.

“Aesthetic can be achieved by everyone, but approach separates the individual” (Visionist)

The project features collaborative artwork from influential artist Peter De Potter, with Daniel Sannwald providing the artist shots and Frederik Heyman and Teri Varhol directing forthcoming visuals.

Visionist releases his sophomore album Value on October 20 via Big Dada. Pre-order here.

Ben Frost – Ionia

Ben Frost has shared Ionia a new track ahead of the release of his fifth studio album, The Centre Cannot Hold, out on September 29 via Mute. Pre-order here.

The track follows the release of Threshold Of Faith, and will be available on streaming services beginning September 13. Ionia and a remix from JLIN will be available on 12” vinyl September 22. The remix will be available digitally on September 15.

The Centre Cannot Hold was recorded over ten days by Steve Albini in Chicago. The music exists not in space, but in a space; it is a document of an event, of a room, and of the composer within it. It is music that is not fully controlled and appears to be anxiously, often violently competing against its creator.

In collaborating with Albini, Frost chooses a new immediacy and raw directness. As an artist whose command of sound design lies at the heart of his practice, by placing himself primarily in the role of live performer and handing the studio recording process over to Albini, Frost continues pursuit of Theseus’ paradox; the question of whether a ship restored by replacing every single part remains the same ship.

Watch the video for Threshold Of Faith, the opening cut from the new album here. This video is a new collaboration shot in the winter of 2016 in Reykjavík, Iceland with conceptual documentary photographer Richard Mosse and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten.

Nathan Fake releases second Providence: Reworks EP

Nathan Fake is back with the second instalment in his Providence: Reworks series, on this occasion celebrating the talents of Olga Wojciechowska – a Polish composer and multi-instrumentalist whose work drifts between modern classical, experimental and electronic music – and Konx-Om-Pax who recently released his new album “Caramel” on the excellent Planet Mu label.

“I first became aware of Olga’s music from hearing one of her tracks on a The Wire magazine covermount CD,” explains Nathan. “It really stopped me in my tracks and hit me quite emotionally so I bought her album.” The two became friends around the time that Nathan was finishing his album “Providence” and he shared it with Olga. “I can honestly admit that it awoke me from the creative block which I had been experiencing at that time,” she says. ”‘HoursDaysMonthsSeasons’ was imprinted on my memory from the first tones.”

Additionally, Konx-Om-Pax contributes a powerful ambient rework of ‘DEGREELESSNESS’ that highlights both the beauty and sense of foreboding inherent to its revolving arpeggio. Rounding off the EP are two stellar reworks of ‘feelings 1’ and ‘REMAIN’ by Nathan himself that evolved from the liquid state in which these tracks exist in his live sets – both tougher and resolutely dancefloor-facing, but still delightfully warped in Nathan’s inimitable style.

Nathan Fake released his Providence Reworks: Part 2 EP this week on Ninja Tune.

Weyes Blood – A Certain Kind | Everybody’s Talkin’

Weyes Blood has released a new 7-inch via Mexican Summer that includes two covers: Soft Machine’s A Certain Kind and Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’.

The first recorded Weyes Blood music since her 2016 breakthrough album Front Row Seat To Earth, Natalie Mering shares A Certain Kind b/w Everybody’s Talkin’, a 7″ of cover songs that have helped define her sound over the years.

Tracks include Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’ as imagined by Harry Nilsson for the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack, and Soft Machine’s A Certain Kind, both mainstays of Weyes Blood’s early years on stage. The release is available today as a limited double a-side 7″ and through all digital formats.

Out Lines – There Is A Saved Place

Today, Out Lines – a new collaborative project between Kathryn Joseph, the singer-songwriter behind 2015 SAY Award-winning album bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled; James Graham, frontman for Glaswegian indie treasures The Twilight Sad; and Marcus Mackay, critically-acclaimed producer, songwriter and percussionist, and founder of iconic recording studio The Diving Bell Lounge – share There Is a Saved Place, the second track drawn from their debut album, Conflats, which arrives October 27 on the renowned Rock Action.

This exciting new body of work was inspired by conversations Kathryn and James had with people who use Platform: a groundbreaking multi-arts and community space in Easterhouse, an area in the east end of Glasgow. With James and Kathryn at the helm of translating the stories heard through their conversations with locals and Marcus steering the sound, an inspiring collection of songs were written for a one-off headline performance as part of Outskirts Festival at Platform in April 2016 – an opportunity offered to the trio by Alun Woodward, formerly of The Delgados, who now works at Platform.

Using Kathryn’s signature ships piano, harmonium, a mix of Marcus’ unique percussion style – live and programmed drums with bass synth – alongside James and Kathryn taking turns on lead vocals in combination with their alchemic harmonies, this collaboration is set to be an exciting recorded entity. Conflats was recorded at Marcus’ own Diving Bell Lounge studio, mixed by Tony Doogan at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom and mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Frank Arkwright. The artwork for Conflats is an original piece by Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit.

There Is a Saved Place offers another side of Conflats to the previously released Buried Guns, building from a mesmeric piano figure and Kathryn and James’ softly spoken vocals into call-and-response choruses that ride choppier waters. Speaking of the track’s inception, James says:

“When we were practising/writing ‘There Is a Saved Place’, Kathryn suggested that I do some sort of spoken word part within the song. At first I was a little hesitant but I said I’d go home and see what I could come up with. I sat in my flat and thought about a conversation we had with one of the many people we spoke with in Platform. I remembered his words really resonated with me.

“Like some of my lyrics on Conflats, I took inspiration from what the amazing people we spoke with told us about their struggles and how Platform has helped them. In some of the stories I saw parallels between their experiences and my own. On this occasion, it inspired me to write about how a special someone has helped me overcome some issues I have in everyday life which were similar to his. Speaking to him made me think that Platform helped with his everyday struggles like my special someone helps me with with similar struggles, and that’s what I wrote about”

Similarly, Kathryn explains how positivity and strength came out of the interviews:”Some parts of their stories were sad but they were all such strong beautiful humans and that made writing the songs so much easier than I thought it was going to be.”

Out Lines release their forthcoming debut Conflats on October 27 via Rock Action. Pre-order here.