Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Did you just down an entire smoothie composed of Cluster, Vangelis, and Brian Eno for breakfast? Because I just did, and I think Nicholas Langley did too, or maybe that’s what his breakfast smoothies consist of everyday, that and some bananas and soy milk and other healthy oddities. John Carpenter? Sure. Kale? Why not. Make the thing green. This cassette tape sure is.
Just because you can say those names out loud doesn’t mean you can craft the same type of music within that sci-fi ambient synth idiom. It takes a special kind of celestial soul to get on that interstellar tip. Fortunately for us, they must distill astrophysics in Brighton and distribute it en masse, or at least in heavy doses in the Langley household, because our boy Nick, perhaps perched on the edge Brighton Pier, staring out into the expanse (or toward France), has it coursing through his system. Or maybe he’s just internalized it over time – he has been making this kind of music for many years, and indeed runs a label called Entropy Music that is home to many of his releases (several of which are collaborative efforts with label cofounder David Dilliway), including Phragaonesia, Gestalt Projectection, and The Reasonable Men. I guess, in the end, this is just what he does.
Which makes Thinky Space, his first cassette release for Entertainment Systems, a completely logical outcome. The tunes burrow under your skin and head straight for your cerebral cortex, regardless of whether they’re atmospheric ambient passages (“Svalbard Gothic”) or pulsing waves of joyous melody (“Yellow, Green, Silver”). Heck, Langley’s good at both. And the variety does us good, kind of like a breakfast balanced with all sorts of nutritional goodies, perhaps whipped together in a blender of some sort. But that’s the smoothie talking again. Once those galactic swirls start swimming around your field of vision and your relation to your surroundings becomes less and less observable, it won’t matter anymore. Breakfast will cease to be important. Brighton will cease to be important. Somehow, the only important thing will be to exist in the moment and observe. That’s the feeling I get from Thinky Space, anyway.