Nathan Fake

Drowning in a Sea of Love

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Nathan Fake's debut album doesn't suddenly change the course of electronic music, as some of his more intense partisans can claim. For a start, the combination of almost childlike winsomeness and often unsettled glitch beats and noise inevitably calls to mind older work by acts like the Boards of Canada. But Drowning in a Sea of Love, drawing on inspiration from both the U.K. and further afield in Europe for its particular hybrid, is a fine listen regardless, a slippery and sprightly combination that further shifts the perceived context of post-techno experimentation from an urban to a "rural" mental geography, for lack of a better term. The cover photograph of a small English village helps set the tone explored further by the sound of the squeeze box on "Stops" and the title of "The Sky Was Pink," suggests a long-stretched-out sunset with its sprawling guitar (or guitar-like) solo. Again, this is not, per se, new -- Ultramarine notably sought a rural prog/techno fusion at its best and sometimes achieved it very well, to name just one act. But Fake's ear for what has already become an established tradition in electronics makes this a new kind of roots music, and his one-person compositions can have the weight of a full band, thus the dramatic cascade and pace of "Grandfathered," which is not far removed from M83 in ways, and is appropriate given his obvious love for shoegaze as filtered through computers (à la Ulrich Schnauss or, somewhat indirectly, Fennesz) elsewhere. The lush melancholia of "Bumblechord" and "You Are Here" are begging to be used on a film soundtrack somewhere if they haven't already, while "Fell" makes for a fine conclusion, drawing together all the album's best elements into a serene climax.

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