Nathan Fake // Headrow House, Leeds // 30.03.17
The night commences with support from Laminate Pet Animal and James Orvis. The former are a Leeds based electronica trio, fusing together luscious vocals, synth pop textures and punchy live drums. There’s a lot of use of organic textures in there too, even some birdsong, although at times it borders on being a little sugary. In stark contrast to the effervescent synth pop of Laminate Pet Animal, James Orvis’ set begins with pounding techno kicks, cloaked in eerie vocals and quotes about the subconscious. He produces some engrossing electronic oddities throughout his set, enough to get the crowd enthusiastic for what’s to come.
By the time Nathan Fake ascends onto the stage, the room has fleshed out quite considerably, and it’s a testament to him; Fake has been one of the heavy hitters in British electronic music for a decade now. After a period of inactivity for two years due to extreme creative block, it’s good to see him back on the stage again. Releasing his first single ‘Outhouse’ at nineteen, the former wunderkind now turned Cambria Instruments head-honcho has carved out his own niche of fuzzy, melancholic synths and acidic techno, and his new album Providence doesn’t disappoint. It feels like a somewhat softer sound than his previous work, yet packs an extra punch when heard live. Glittery textures emerge from nowhere, only to be overlaid with pounding kicks, and lo-fi, nostalgic analogue synths.
The heavily distorted vocals and organ-like synths of ‘DEGREELESSNESS’ unfortunately segue into technical issues, leaving Fake scrambling furiously on stage and assuring the crowd that it’ll be business as usual soon. The turbulent synth riff of ‘RVK’ shocks us back to attention, and it doesn’t take long for Fake to get his groove back on. As the set begins to reaches its climax, Fake is dancing so furiously behind his pile of electronics that he’s practically head-butting the laptop screen. The complementing visuals feature the work of the esteemed Matt Bateman (Flat e) who has previously worked with Jon Hopkins and LFO. As Fake’s set seems to descend further down the wormhole, the visuals follow suit. By the resolution, we’ve come so far from where we started that it’s almost cyclical, and as I’m walking home I’m left with a sort of therapeutic, almost spiritual feeling.