Image by Tim Saccenti
Back in 2005, Nathan Fake was swiftly crowned the heir to Boards of Canada’s throne on the back of his blissful, downtempo debut Drowning in a Sea of Love. His subsequent live work and recordings then showed off an artist far more eclectic and distinct than many had first believed, but one who still married his increasing interest in rhythmic experimentation and chaos with beautiful synthesised melodies.
After a long absence, Fake is making a very welcome return with his fourth – and, according to the artist himself, his best – album yet, Providence. Discussing the lengthy gestation of Providence, Fake informs me, “Well I’d had the idea of a fourth album in my mind for quite some time, I think that was part of the problem, I guess feeling a bit pressured by it. But yeah, once I’d relaxed and just started enjoying making tunes for the sake of it, that’s when the album started to take shape. It all happened quite quickly and I guess I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time which is what made it come together really.”
It needs to be a proper live performance rather than just playing back audio files from a laptop or whatever
Whilst his talent for string-tugging might have been what first garnered him attention over a decade ago, what’s striking on Providence is the remarkable depth of his production, both in a technical sense and on an emotive level. Fake is strident about the personal nature of his work, stating, “I guess making music has always been a really personal thing for me, as it is with a lot of artists I’m sure…mainly because I’ve always been a bit of a loner with it, so the personal aspect has kind of been its very essence. I suppose Providence doesn’t really differ that much from my previous albums in that respect, but I do feel like this album is especially emotive, as I was kind of totally in the flow when making it, it wasn’t about tech or experimentation.”
Accompanying the album are striking, neon hues visuals that Fake proves very enthusiastic about. “Matt Bateman’s visuals are incredible, I’m so happy with them. I’d seen work he’d done for LFO and Jon Hopkins in the past, and I was after something quite digital, futuristic and hyper-real I guess so he seemed like a good person to ask. And he’s totally nailed it.”
Alongside his new release is a surprisingly extensive tour, one that brings him to The Cluny on Thursday 13th April. Asked about his new live set-up, he tells me: “So the live show at the moment is basically live improvised versions of the album tracks – obviously, the album versions are pretty structured and my live versions are loosely based on them, but they quite often go off on tangents which I think is what the live show is all about. I think live electronic music needs to sound rougher and more messy than recorded versions. It needs to be a proper live performance rather than just playing back audio files from a laptop or whatever. So basically, I’ve kind of deconstructed the album for the live show and put it back together in a pretty messy way, but I’m really happy with how it’s sounding. Also, I’m excited now that the album is out, people might actually recognise some of the stuff I’m playing, ha!”