INTERVIEW: Ebb | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Ebb is a recording project for North East composer Timney, which sees the musician go down different sonic avenues while exploring themes he is passionate about, such as that of our natural world. Previous releases have seen the artist experiment with sampling and field recordings, but new album Solastalgia (his fourth) puts focus on recorded rock music, creating an instrumental post-rock experience.  

The change of approach happened naturally according to Timney: “I agonised over the last record, and spent far more time on the computer than playing instruments. Two years on, this album is a little less optimistic and embodies feelings of futility and frustration at climate inaction, the instrumentation reflecting that – it quickly became obvious that this set of songs was taking a more straightforward trajectory, so I decided early on to work with that as a premise and head towards an album with more of a rock orientation and a focus on energy and riffs.” 

Solastalgia refers to a particular type of environmental distress, a feeling of grief for what we are losing from the world

The change is immediately noticeable from the first song Brutal Mysticism, a power-hungry sounding opener that tears through with its crushing riffs and all-out attack of drums on the dark instrumental. I asked Timney about his choice to make Solastalgia a mostly instrumental project. “I am not a singer, so I express myself musically, and I am drawn to the way that it can express without words.”  

What words Timney does use he utilises the best he can, and importance is given to track names: “As I was starting this process, I was reading Edward Abbey, lamenting the loss of wild places to industry and commerce. He speaks of a ‘brutal mysticism’, in which he would lose himself in the desert and face dehydration and exposure to really try to viscerally experience nature and wildness whilst we still have it. He describes the Anasazi people living free on the land, and the sorrow he feels as he kayaks Glen Canyon for the last time before the Colorado river is dammed and the world within the canyon is flooded and lost forever. It is, in microcosm, what is happening at present to the whole Earth. My song Anasazi represents the joyful abandon of a time before industrial scale destruction.”

He goes on to explain more about the album’s title: “Solastalgia refers to a particular type of environmental distress, a feeling of grief for what we are losing from the world, and an odd kind of nostalgia for what we still have, but are going to lose.” 

These thoughts and ideas flow into the music itself. “As a surfer and climber, I spend a lot of time in wild environments, and it is evident year on year how things are changing.” Timney’s experiences in our natural world are brought into this music through field recordings: “I manipulate those sounds to use as textures in a mix. I believe in the responsibility of art to reflect the zeitgeist and address contemporary issues, and it is for that purpose that I use my platform as a musician.” 

Solastalgia is a beautiful project which encourages the listener to take note of much more than just the music, the artist’s advice to the listener is as profound as the music: “Pay attention to the world around you; experience it, protect it, be present. Or at the very least – just enjoy half an hour of riffs and big, roomy drums!”

Ebb releases Solastalgia on 21st December.

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