Six Of The Best: NOPRISM | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle-based duo Andrew Young and Mark Nelson, aka NOPRISM, dish out another batch of their synthy, soulful brand of pop music with their latest release, House Of Smith (out now). Originating from a sampled drum loop from an old Roy Ayers track and named after a bar in Newcastle, the song is a much deeper affair discussing humanity’s need to justify its own purpose.

Here, NOPRISM talk about 6 albums that were instrumental in the way they sound…

Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
It’s kind of crazy when you think about it, but it’s taken Todd Terje 20 years to put an album out. Over that time he’s been responsible for some classic underground dance tunes but also some Gary Barlow/Robbie Williams-related mishaps too. (Although to be fair to him, he didn’t know a great deal about that one).

Regardless, this album is a joyous romp, effortlessly plundering from all sorts of genres. It goes from lounge-style cabaret, to Italian house, to Terminator soundtrack, yet somehow manages to keep its own colourful identity, sounding really fresh and contemporary.

He composes his songs so precisely. They slowly unfurl themselves as you listen and always in good taste. A man with a fine record collection no doubt. He really should be given a movie to score. Maybe a Grease remake. Pretty sure that must be less than a few years away. We could play all 5 of the T-Birds.

!!! – Thriller 
When we decided to do another band and write a load of songs, we’d spent so many years being angry and shouty, that we thought “let’s try and smile once in a while. If only internally.”

!!!  have been part of that US dance punk scene for years now and, along with The Rapture, we’re totally in love with the way they go about what they do. They always look like they’re having an absolute blast, and I just wish I could pull off short shorts like they do. 

This album is possibly their most accessible. It’s got all the hits. That one about the water being cold and that other one. Like the other bands on this list, we love the way they combine dance, funk, punk, disco and psychedelia. We basically picked a load of bands that throw everything into the mixer, because it gives us free reign to do whatever we want.

!!! are the best live mixtape jam you could think of. And did I mention them in shorts? If they were from Newcastle, you can imagine they’d spend all day, every day, jamming in the Offquay building and never get around to actually playing their music to people.

Carpenter Brut – Trilogy
We went through a bit of a synthwave phase where we were listening to all of those retro 80s bands that sound like the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. That has since evolved into our Pottery obsession, who actually do play the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, albeit on guitar.

One obsession which remains though is the sound of Carpenter Brut. He’s fucking brilliant really. Heavy, heavy synths and epic soundscapes. Whenever we write songs we always want to achieve that same ferocity his songs have, but without ripping him to the nines in obvious fashion. He looks quite big, so is probably quite handy.

This album is a collection of his first 3 EPs and it’s his best release yet. And with us being elitist Indie snobs, he’s got no chance of bettering it now that he’s more popular.

Justice  – Cross
Justice made most of Cross on Garageband, and it’s quite inspiring that two lads basically clarting about on laptops can create something like that album with the bare bones of equipment. Sure, it was mixed, then remixed, then mastered, then remastered by the best of ‘em, but don’t let that get in the way of the fact that it’s just filled with some of the most creative songs written in decades. Love this band, and their first album is a classic.

The only thing more iconic than the album sleeve is their ability to wear a leather jacket with style. But can they carry off shorts?

Wire – The Ideal Copy
It seems every new band on the radio at the moment has a bit of Wire and a bit of The Fall in them and it’s great seeing bands like Wire standing the test of time. I bought their album 154 in a record store discount bin a few years ago and had – shamefully – never really got into them before that. This record is much more synth and drum machine-led than their previous stuff. It’s quite New Order-ish in places, and has some proper tunes on there. You can see a pattern emerging here with these albums. Maybe we need more variety.

Q and not U – Different Damage 
Such a criminally underrated band, even when they were active. Mark’s old band had a bit of a penchant for Q and Not U, and a lot of their sound influences what we do in NOPRISM. They have similarities to !!! in the way they incorporate dance elements, but coming out of that Washington D.C. Dischord scene they have a much more raw punk rock edge. We love the way they use Prince-stye falsettos alongside more shouty vocals.

Listening to this record you can pinpoint the influence they had on bands like Foals (listen to Soft Pyramids). They lost a member before this record, but came back using synths and a really interesting stripped back sound. This is the band that inspired Mark to wear tighter underpants to hit those high notes.

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