08 September 2021 (released)
08 September 2021
Post-punk progenitors and hy-perennial explorers in the places and spaces in and between sound and art (as well as married couple) Colin Newman (Wire; Githead) and Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact; Githead) return as Immersion with new album ‘Nanocluster Vol. 1’.
The project emanates from a Brighton club night, also called Nanocluster, run by Spigel and Newman (alongside writer, broadcaster and DJ Graham Duff, and promoter Andy Rossiter). Every evening closes with a one-off collaboration (a sort of structured spontaneity) between the duo and the headliners with the songs having been written and recorded in the studio by Newman and Spigel shortly before the ‘performance’.
Like 1995’s ‘The Full Immersion’ this cachet is also a collaborative endeavour that includes three joint efforts each from Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Robin Rimbaud (Scanner; Githead), Teutonic-electronica polymath Ulrich Schnauss (also a current member of Tangerine Dream) and fellow Germans, the post-rockers Tarwater (Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok).
As you might expect the album is a broad-rush, back and/to front masterstroke of a multitude of styles, sounds and input/output with each combination highlighting the shared idiosyncrasies and differing similarities between all of them. If necessity is the mother of invention and synergy the midwife of creation then these songs embody that (pre)dictum.
‘All you cat lovers’ (with Tarwater): There aren’t many other artistes (if any) that could convert and transform an ode to the pleasures (and perplexities) of feline company into an other-worldly paean to something greater, deeper, more profound. But, Newman does so with aplomb. The closing track (with Scanner) ‘The mundane and the profound’ is a perfect companion (audibly and philosophically) to this sentiment.
The instrumental ‘Unclustered’ begins as a folkish dervish that disruptingly erupts into a an environ of droning synths, ‘wiry’ weaving and metronomic wondergrounds.
‘Uncensored’ captures the (en)raptures of Sadier’s Gallic-metallic intonations and ‘Riding the wave’ is the most Wire/Minimal Compact-alike track on the album. Newman’s clipped, cool, collected clarion calling set in contrast with Spigel’s ethereal reassurances of ‘Thinking / hoping / wishing / dreaming / things have a way of working out’ proffering a timely lullaby of positivity.
Of the three tracks with Schnauss: ‘Remember those days on the road’ is a wistful thinking, wishful squinting rose-tinted ambient interlude down and through the annuls of yesteryear. Both ‘Skylarks’ and ‘So much green’ are lush, plush, synthetic blushes, siphoning the surrounds of the flush (and flash) of Summertime.
Rounding proceedings off Scanner adds a tactile-techno-thrum feel to ‘Cataliz’ and a. opto-mystic tender-throb to ‘Metrosphere’.
Immersion: a group infinitely more than the sum (or some) of its parts.