As a member of revered Sheffield experimentalists Clock DVA, Dean Dennis cut his electronic chops a long time ago. Seems that yearning to create hasn’t left him, and judging by his new, double album ‘Longitude and Latitude’ under his Nohno moniker, neither should he. Teaming up with his partner Jose Snook, who also acts as the creative crutch in the group, particularly visually, (the limited edition version of the album features a collection of beautiful prints / postcards shot and designed by Snook) to Dennis’ beautiful (largely) instrumental soundscapes.
The album has clearly defined sections, part I being the Longitude. Opener Searching for Breath hints at whats to come. Its part balearic, part moody, ambient synths, part vocalised, effects laden cut ups, but Dennis and Snook manage to arrange all of it into creystalised little gems of electronica, capturing and affecting right from the off, and laden with melody on one side, balanced by experimentalism on the other. Dennis isn’t afraid to jup around styles either – Court of the Myrtles possesses eastern melodic fragments, while moving through something that could be a gangster rap bed, bubbling and menacing. In contrast, both 141st Street and (in particular) Rotor R2 lay down serious funk chops, in the bassline and these guitar lines especially, as over the top there’s a more oblique, detached synth lines, and these cut up vocal samples.
Part II, Latitude, again (as does much of the album) features the bass, often melodic in style (just listen to Auslander), sometimes to the forefront, but always packed with interest, right from the off with opener ‘Under Northern Skies’. There’s often a tension in the music, a frautness about the beauty that Dennis and Snook make, as if they’re searching for something in the background, and this has a real sense of it, perhaps enhanced by the polyrhythms going on underneath. There’s other sparkling moments throughout this side of the record – the wonky funk of Mid Point and the jazz infused Axis being particularly lovely, while the experimentalism contained within the pseudo classical Miodowa is fascinating, and the heartbreak of Into the Here adding a little slice of melancholy to proceedings.
Essentially, what Dennis has done is made a record which mops up Squarepusher and his bass guitar at his most emotive and then brilliantly steers the listener on a journey of occasionally cosmic, occasionally sad, occasionally uplifting but always interesting, melodic and emotive. Its a joy.
Longitude and Latitude is available now, but its very limited. Get it from www.kodama-av.co.uk