Nathan Fake – Providence

Album Review by Megan Wallace | 06 Mar 2017
  • Nathan Fake - Providence
Album title: Providence
Artist: Nathan Fake
Label: Ninja Tune
Release date: 10 Mar

After a two year music-making hiatus, Nathan Fake returns with Providence, an album which sees him take his music in a new, and wholly unanticipated, direction.

Whilst Fake is best known for danceable techno releases like 2003’s Outhouse, his current effort feels more substantial, and certainly more experimental, than anything he has done before. Indeed, his use of abstract, droning sounds recalls the work of electronic musician Benjamin John Power in both Fuck Buttons and his solo project Blanck Mass. Sporadic flashes of hypnotic rhythm evoke ‘90s trance and, elsewhere on the album, the downcast, minimal beats of REMAIN bring to mind producers like Pantha du Prince.

The album’s glitchy, distinctive sound is perhaps due to the fact that all of the tracks were created via a Korg Prophecy, a mid-nineties VA synthesiser. The limitations imposed by this vintage tech on the production process have clearly pushed Fake’s work in a different direction; resulting in a more complex, layered sound. These unusual production techniques give the album a powerful sense of direction, with each track unified by the same overarching sonic signature.

Providence clearly constitutes a serious development in Fake’s career as a recording artist – particularly noticeable on two tracks (DEGREELESSNESS and RVK) where he works with vocalists for the first time. On the former, Fake joins forces with noise artist Dominick Fernow. Here, Fake pitches Fernow’s scarcely audible utterances against a softly escalating backing track, beginning with an out-of-sync, slow-motion effect and broken up by unexpected industrial sounds. This dream-like and surreal soundscape contrasts with the more traditional RVK, anchored by Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s raspy vocals.

Although the spiritual undertone (providence meaning ‘divine guidance’) feels somewhat overdone, Fake has created a truly impressive release – managing to weave together diverse and eclectic sounds into a cohesive whole.

Listen to: DEGREELESSNESS, unen, RVK