Nathan Fake: Iceni Strings (Border Community)
Nathan Fake returns with 3 new tracks after an extended silence… all three are reliably tightly crafted, but none of them dives headlong into the more emotional turf explored on many of his Border Community releases from the past. Instead, these are jaunty dancefloor numbers that aren’t without some sweet or sad tinges, but are decidedly more physically focused. “Iceni Strings” is a galloping shuffle-beat track that’s dripping with wetness on the backing tracks, anchored by an arpeggio bass synth and an airy lead pad. The name of the game for the EP overall is effects, really — Mr. Fake generously applies filters, reverb, delay, flange and more to the various layers of each of these tracks, and often any changeups happening are in those effects and toggling on and off rhythm layers. This gives it a really hardware/live effect to me, which I can get behind, a spontaneous on-the-fly sort of feeling. My personal favorite it “Sense Head” which is centered around a highly repetitive portamento synth pattern and an uptempo four-to-the-floor techno kit behind it, with effects and filters doing most of the heavy lifting to keep things interesting. “Bauxite Dream” rounds things out with a skittering future garage rhythm section, with a healthy amount of swagger. Its snappy tempo and cycling synth lines keep it in line with the other 2 tracks, but the broken beat makes this a hair livelier. Really good stuff, a nice preview for the Steam Days album that’s imminent.