On the cusp of his new album ‘The Memory Clears the Space for What’s Needed’ via Blurred Recordings on 13th April 2018, former Gravenhurst sideman Paul Nash, aka North Sea Navigator recently released the beautiful and brilliant ‘Pure modulations in space and time’ track which peeked our interest, and having heard the album, it’s one of the most haunting and lovely things we have heard in quite a while.
We spoke to Paul, who made us a playlist of ten tracks that have influenced him.
01. Mica Levi – Death (Under The Skin OST, 2014)
Mica Levi is unquestionably the greatest composer of her generation and so justly deserves to bookend this playlist – first off, the sinister alien ‘language’ of her track ‘Death’ from ‘Under The Skin OST’ with its foreboding negative space is a masterclass in the use of a limited palette for any aspiring composer.
02. David Bowie – Subterraneans (Low, 1977)
No ‘influences’ list would be complete without Berlin-era Bowie, and so to the B-side of ‘Low’ with its Eno-infused ambience, which feels forever ingrained in my musical DNA since its first listen, conjuring lost worlds behind a shroud of isolation – RIP you beautiful, brilliant man.
03. Kate Bush – A Coral Room (Aerial, 2005)
Kate Bush’s finest song and lyric ‘A Coral Room’ focuses on the passing of time and memory, two themes I explore in ‘Pure Modulations in Space and Time’ where my line ‘Put your hand into the river, feel its fury’ is perhaps in retrospect an unconscious nod to her refrain ‘Put your hand over the side of the boat, and what do you feel?’
04. The The – Giant (Soul Mining, 1983)
‘Soul Mining’ is one of my all-time favourite albums from unsung genius Matt Johnson, which still sounds as relevant as it did on cassette way back then – here’s stand-out track ‘Giant’ with its visceral, searching coda ‘How could anyone know me when I don’t even know myself?’ from a truly inspirational artist.
05. Yo La Tengo – Saturday (And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, 2000)
Forthcoming single ‘The Rend’ pays homage to the CR-78 drum machine vibe of Yo La Tengo’s ‘Saturday’ – I guess it’s the sound of an indie rock band’s foray into something resembling electronic music that I love, that and its mood-heavy intimacy.
06. Massive Attack – Pray For Rain (Heligoland, 2010)
I could have picked any track from Massive Attack’s masterpiece ‘Mezzanine’ as an influence but ‘Pray For Rain’ seems more apposite with its wonderfully sinister piano line, rolling beats (Jerry Fuchs RIP), and eerily prescient Day Zero lyric – a classic modern-day hymn for the End Days.
07. Tortoise – Gigantes (Beacons of Ancestorship, 2009)
Here’s a ridiculously cool rooftop performance of the timeless ‘Gigantes’ from an album by venerated Chicago post-rock stalwarts Tortoise that is replete with intricately woven instrumentals which continue to inspire me.
08. Battles – Futura (Gloss Drop, 2011)
There have been times in my life where I have sat like a ghost at the edge of a vast grey plain, forever waiting, and then motivation has come along in the shape of a band with an album like ‘Gloss Drop’ to shake things up and wake the undeniable ache to write again, and so I am eternally grateful that ‘I HAVE BATTLES IN MY LIFE’.
09. Broadcast – Lights Out (Work And Non Work, 1997)
When I first met the late Nick Talbot (aka Gravenhurst) I remember talking endlessly about a shared love for Broadcast and their timeless sound – here’s the hauntingly beautiful ‘Lights Out’ with its brilliantly unexpected breakdown halfway through – RIP Trish.
10. Mica Levi – Vanity (Jackie OST, 2016)
Mica Levi’s score for ‘Jackie’ directed by Pablo Larraín oozes empathy for its alienated heroine with its grief-laden gliss and eerie silences, and is arguably the real star of the film – as the morphine fades, play me out with the singularly beautiful track ‘Vanity’…
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