Nathan Fake's latest album, Providence, is a reference to the gear used to make the album--Korg's Prophecy synth--and his belief in a kind of guiding hand that led him out of a year-long bout of writer's block. (His last album, Steam Days, came out five years ago.) Providence is a notable sonic shift for Fake, whose confidence seems renewed. The wide-eyed electronica of Drowning In A Sea of Love, from 11 years ago, has grown more urgent and aggressive.
Writer's block can be crippling. For writers and musicians it's that one dreaded fear where, however much you try, however much you force it, nothing worthwhile comes out. The trick is how you deal with it. You can carry on regardless and write yourself out of the slump, or you can take yourself away to return later.
To paraphrase George Harrison, it takes patience and time to do it right, child.
UK producer Nathan Fake is all too aware of this fact. He took three years between each of his first three albums, the last of which came out in 2012. As is his habit, Fake has grown substantially in the five years since Steam Days.
Providence finds Fake reinvigorated, having worked through writer's block to find inspiration in a virtual analog synth from the mid '90s, the Korg Prophecy.
Nathan Fake's 2005 debut 'Drowning In A Sea Of Love' was a gorgeous intermingling of electronic and rustic flavours. He maintained the quality output for James Holden's Border Community label but then dried up, struck silent by writers' block. His return is inspired by a Korg Prophecy, an old piece of analogue kit which was the starting point for an odyssey of strange machine experiments ranging from the epic, almost Wagnerian atmospherics of'HoursDaysMonthsSeasons' to the discordant machine breakdown of 'Radio Spiritworld'.
Nathan Fake's fourth album (and first for Ninja Tune), Providence, was conceived as the producer overcame an extended period of writer's block that left him unable to create any music for a few years. He recorded much of the album on a Korg Prophecy synthesizer from the mid-'90s, which proved to be more challenging than he anticipated, but it forced him to push the equipment to its limits. This is nothing new for Fake, as his music has always been vivid and emotionally striking, but for him it ended up being a necessary exercise, and renewed his creative spirit.
His fourth instalment, Providence (2017), will be released on cult UK independent record label Ninja Tune. This is a first for Nathan, who has so far released all previous LPs on James Holden 's Border Community. Providence sees the Norfolk-born producer take a new direction and is the first time we hear him work with vocalists; tracks such as "DEGREELESSNESS" featuring Prurient (AKA Vatican Shadow) and "RVK", with the appearance of Raphaelle Standell-Preston of Braids, exhibit Nathan's deeper exploration into diverse songwriting.
T hroughout his fourth album, Nathan Fake deploys sounds that might cause some listeners to worry their audio equipment is about to self-destruct. Harsh, rubbery synths loop to vaguely maddening effect. Tortured, flanging synths on SmallCityLights recall a Prince CD skipping in the machine. One nagging effect on Radio Spiritworld sounds worryingly akin to bagpipes.