Nathan Fake's fourth album; Providence, crafted in the wake of a crippling two year spell of writer’s block. Is his most personal and profoundly emotional work to date.Providence sees the British producer collaborate with vocalists for the first time, joining forces with Prurient (aka Vatican Shadow / founder of Hospital Productions) and Raphaelle Standell-Preston from Braids. Both arose from chance meetings in Geneva and Osaka as their tour schedules crossed. Prurient contributed the heavily distorted vocal to ’DEGREELESSNESS’ - “I was a huge fan of Dominic’s [Prurient] music before we met and I love the way he situates his vocals in his productions. I really like how you can’t make out what he’s saying at allâ€¦” - whilst Raphaelle, who lends her voice to ‘RVK’, was introduced to Nathan by their mutual friend Jon Hopkins. “I deliberately kept the first half of the track instrumental and I love the way her vocal lands,” he says. “It’s quite unexpected when she starts singing.”
“It’s the quickest album I’ve written and because of that it’s got a close thread running throughout,” says Nathan of his creative process. It also has a distinct sonic signature as a result of the producer refreshing his set-up. “I was feeling nostalgic and bought a cheap Korg Prophecy on a whim and it ended up being the backbone of the album,” he explains. “I remember reading an article in Sound On Sound back in 1995-96 and I didn’t really know much about music production then, but I remember thinking that it must be AMAZING. As it turns out, it’s actually quite crap reallyâ€¦ It’s very hard to program, looks unimpressive, doesn’t sound great [laughs], but I recorded it through loads of different pre-amps and tape and mixers and roughed it up. I’m always intrigued by low-end gear, I like the challenge and the limitations it poses.”
Norfolk born and bred, Nathan’s first encounters with electronic music came via the radio (hearing the likes of Aphex Twin and Orbital) and reading about the equipment that they used in magazines. This was the stimulus for him to buy some gear and begin his own sonic experiments and, linking with James Holden in 2003, Nathan’s early output came via his fledgling Border Community label. His debut album “Drowning In A Sea Of Love” (2006) was a triumphant record, drawing a rapturous reception from the likes of Pitchfork, The Guardian and Mixmag (who hailed it among the best of the year). Recording two further albums for Border Community, “Hard Islands” (2009) and “Steam Days” (2012), Nathan found himself in frantic touring mode for two years and, in this nomadic state, found it impossible to write any new music. On his return, events in his personal life intertwined with, and exacerbated, this creative block. “I didn’t write any music at all for about two years,” Nathan explains. “Overall there was roughly a three year break from writing.”
Emerging from this extended period of inactivity with renewed vigour and lust for life, Providence was recorded during the first six months of 2016 in Nathan’s home studio / living room. The meaning behind the title is two-pronged: on the one hand it’s a nod to the aforementioned Korg Prophecy synth that features so heavily on the record. But on a deeper level it means “guidance or divine guidance” - not necessarily in a religious sense but more to be guided by a higher power - or more specifically to Nathan, music as therapy and a path out of a dark period in his life.