REVISIO: Nothing On Semble | Corners And Their Places

Whilst it’s undeniable that the early 70’s were huge for music, for every loner psych private pressing that slipped through the cracks, it seems there was a hugely ambitious fully orchestrated gate folded behemoth. It’s easy to see a bloated self-indulgence in the studio half of Ummagumma or ideas being stretched too thin in much of Atom Heart Mother. But despite this criticism, there is something undeniably interesting in the music and more to the point, the way production and the studio manipulated and tailored the sound. It’s no surprise that all forms of sonic trickery magnified those themes of outer space, the human condition and disorientation all under the blanket of some form of drug experience. Music that works best when you’re doing nothing other than listening.

So, in a way, Nothing On Semble is a later day, agile and lean response to these studio overloads by creating that very same rich patterned mood from what appears to be far more economic means but the effect is wonderfully immersive. The project title and sleeve artwork only frames this further and we have an album that feels like something we overlooked all those decades ago. However, Corners And Their Places is an immaculate gem of 2019 sparkling vintage – a bubble formed from comfortably numbing, immersive weirdness many folk don’t seem interested nor capable of making these days…

 

The album opens with an odd synthetic shimmering fanfare. Golden Eyes is that strange photo that looks normal until you start to notice the spooky shadows. A song dragged through a dreamy memory where the forests are a tiny bit ominous…

Careful With Those Keys throws the listener head long back into that uncomfortable yet magnetic sampled dialogue between an interviewer and what I can only assume is a poor soul suffering from some unknown mental condition. As the conversation evolves, it emerges that the person is a pianist which makes the musical backdrop a choreographed soundtrack. The piano floating in towards the end gives the piece a chilling shapeshifting gravity.

Brass Theme is little more than a bank of mist before the flicker of The Man With The Mandolin twists in like a huge tower rapidly extending skyward before everything warps again. Interlude injects a platform of bright lights and medieval candy floss. Full Theme 1 lays down a tuba groove before tinkling off into a fuzzy space-rocking-gallop before giving everything a layer of animation.

Torenia Moon is a floating masterpiece viewed through a kaleidoscopic lens. Wobbling, floating layers swamping the understated duck quacking, tambourine dusted drifting motion. This is Dark Side Of The Moon with Syd still driving and it’s quite spectacular.

However, The Deepest Hole is the best song McDonald & Giles never made. A form of the highest quality psychedelic pop with dry guitar rumbles give way to a balmy fluted groove. Its bucolic gas ignites into a weirdly fried guitar but then settles back into a soft glow. Bagpipes and speaker swooshing into fat electronics…

Reprise concludes this focussed 34-minute album and several times I’ve just looped the whole thing again. This is an album to deeply zone out to and one that gently clouds your brain in the most pleasant way…

Nothing On Semble is another guise of the staggeringly talented Curtis Godino. A key component in New York’s amazing Worthless, the person behind Bellboy/Bubblecrunch as well as a creative lighting designer and visual artist. Whatever hat he’s wearing, the quality floods out. His music has a weird trippy fairground atmosphere and whilst his music may point backwards, he manages again and again, to present wonderfully immersive, superbly rendered, detailed music.

Corners And Their Places is much more than a signpost to the past, this is another stupendous headphone adventure into the future.


Nothing On Semble – “Corners and Their Places” is out now on cassette and digital 

 

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