Since graduating from Leeds College of Music a decade ago, St. Annes born Nate Connolly has concentrated on writing and scoring film scores, totaling approaching a couple of dozen. But he does have a history with hard house, raves and drum and bass dating back to his teens.
At first sound, it seems like one of those records that has taken the buzz sounds of recent times to make a copycat version of it. So there’s this dark electronic RnB in there a la Sam Smith and James Blake and the like, along with the dusky dubstep of Burial.
On closer inspection, A Dream About Being Lost is more than that. Yes, there are elements of that, but it proves itself to be an album of atmosphere and beauty, that draws in lots of things, but stands alone, apart from those other artists.
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The album opener, Some Faith, sets the scene for dreamy, glitchy electronica that purveys over the majority of the album. The album features the vocal talents of Ruby Pemberton and Amy Robina as well as Nate himself, and the female cut up vocals on this show the moody, slightly shadowy electronic soul they help create.
You Echo carries on this same track, more laid back and it has this sort of claustrophobic melancholy about it, Connelly’s vocal dragging the emotion out of the track without dominating it, and allowing the electronics to help set the scene. Its more of a traditional ‘song’ than the opener, and is similar in that respect to Tired Waiting, where Pemberton takes the lead, her smokey vocal over the top of a track where the backing veers between the stripped back and a busy glitchy feel. The title track, this time featuring Robina, switches back towards a more ambient feel, the vocal cut up, little words and snatches of melody the only thing that comes across.
Elsewhere on the record, there’s a good dose of electronica. Similar to a Simulated Simulation buzzes and fizzes around, layer upon layer of dots and bleeps being laid out before you, while follow on track Would I Be Where I Belong has this sort of dark house feel, breathing life into the album and making sure things don’t just drift. In contrast the ambient ripples of Safe from Twelve is as dreamy as the album gets.
What it does show is that within an emotional and mood based framework, Connelly is prepared to experiment and bring all sorts of influences to bear. Never does this experimentation come more to the fore than on closer Arkham, where this fuzzy bassline works in conjunction with the serene vocal and constantly altering drum patterns.
In the right, late night, darkened room, frame of mind ‘A Dream About Being Lost’ is a terrific album. As it is, it’s an enjoyable listen at any time.