‘Nanocluster Vol. 1’ is an album with some serious pedigree. It sees Immersion (aka Malka Spigel and Colin Newman of influential groups Minimal Compact and Wire respectively) collaborating with some of the finest left field artists of our era: Tarwater, Laetitia Sadier (of Stereolab), Ulrich Schnauss and Scanner. The debut album ‘Nanocluster Vol. 1’ will be released on September 4th via swim~ (pre-order).
Immersion and Laetitia Sadier have shared the official video for Riding The Wave, the latest track to be lifted from ‘Nanocluster Vol. 1’. You can watch the video, which was shot in Cornwall & Brighton mostly by Immersion’s Malka Spigel, via YouTube below.
About the song and video Immersion’s Colin Newman says: “In terms of that the song is about surviving & thriving in difficult situations by “Riding the Wave” and looking back through the years to see how often things worked out ok even when times were hard. We hope to illustrate that in the video through a combination of immersive beauty & humour. The footage was shot in Cornwall & Brighton, mainly by Malka and we put it together here.
In terms of the music it’s an atypical piece from an atypical album. Laetitia came to this project wanting to project something else besides being “the singer” and this song exemplifies that as Laetitia provided the chord sequence and pace of the piece through the guitars while we provided the vocal melodies. It has a template that we would never come up with in a million years! With the production the main idea was to keep it light & flowing.”
Riding the Wave is available now on Spotify and Apple Music.
Last month Immersion shared Skylarks which was made with Ulrich Schnauss. The track can be streamed at YouTube, Spotify or Apple Music. Colin Newman says, “Ulrich Schnauss is not only a highly talented artist but also an amazing human being. The music in ‘Skylarks’ is about, if about anything, the magic of summer and we have attempted to capture something of that in the video which is all shot within walking distance of our house in Brighton. The track is part of an album which is all about friendship & collaboration.”
The Nanocluster project was born out of a Brighton based club night, also called Nanocluster, run by Spigel and Newman alongside writer, broadcaster and DJ Graham Duff, and promoter Andy Rossiter. The club features a range of influential and cutting-edge music acts, but the unique aspect of the evenings is that each show climaxes with a one off collaboration between Immersion and the headliners. The songs having been written and recorded in the studio in just three days prior to the performance – or one day in the case of Schnauss.
“It could have just been a series of performances.” says Newman. “But the fact that we had built the tracks in the studio for the performances means we had these recordings” adds Spigel. The recordings have since been developed with Immersion heading up pro- duction duties. The result is a beautiful and unique album. “I think the really interesting thing is how different everybody is,” says Spigel. “Both as people and creatively.”
Immersion + Tarwater
The German duo of Ronald Lippok and Bernd Jestram have created an impressive body of work. Yet their involvement with Immersion has opened out their sound, creating a more panoramic soundscape.
The opening instrumental Ripples is a gentle breathe of optimism, all purring tones and sun dazzled synths. Meanwhile, Mrs. Wood is a dubby psychedelic shuffle, Lippok’s vocal cool and assured over a fat bass line and skybound eastern melodics. It feels like a more spacious take on the Tarwater of albums such as Suns, Animals and Atoms. The four musicians’ third collaboration is Nanocluster’s most pop moment: with a heartfelt yet unsentimental lyric unfurling over feline rhythms, All You Cat Lovers is a feel-good anthem for cat lovers everywhere.
Immersion + Laetitia Sadier
An original and distinctive presence in contemporary music, Sadier made her name with the inimitable Stereolab, but she’s also created several impressive solo works.
The instrumental Unclustered sees Sadier’s spidery guitar weaving through Immersion’s lush web of synths drones. The following Uncensored has a subtle melodic tug with a classic Spigel guitar line underpinning Sadier’s sweet yet worldly wise vocal. Riding the Wave is another feel good song, swapping between Newman’s plaintive vocal, and Spigel’s vocal and Sadier’s backing vocals. With its uplifting chorus: ‘Things have a way of working out’ Riding The Wave feels like it might be the sound of the summer we’ve all been waiting for.
Immersion + Ulrich Schnauss
A highly respected solo artist, as well as being a member of Tangerine Dream, Schnauss’ skill with electronics is legendary.
The opening Remember Those Days On The Road skips along on a rimshot rhythm with Spigel’s honeyed vocal telling a tale of life on tour. Yet it is far removed from such usual fare. This feels vulnerable and flecked with melancholy. Skylarks opens with a lattice of arpeggios before a gently nagging guitar enters and everything takes a turn for the sublime. So Much Green is everything you’d hope a collaboration between Newman, Spigel and Schnauss could be. A constantly spiralling urban-kosmisch, with Spigel’s plangent bass anchoring the celestial sounds. The addition of her wordless backing vocals and recordings of real birdsong only serve to elevate the mood further.
Immersion + Scanner
Scanner – aka Robin Rimbaud – is one of the most prolific and diverse artists currently working in contemporary music. Spigel and Newman have of course collaborated extensively with Rimbaud before: alongside Max Franken in the art-pop group Githead. But this is something very different.
Their opening piece together: Cataliz is the album’s moodiest moment. With its serpentine synth drones it sounds like the soundtrack to a mysterious thriller. The rich pulsing Metrosphere recalls Immersion’s early work whilst adding another layer of grainy uncertainty. The closing The Mundane and the Profound opens with a “Rimbaud scanned” recording of an irritated flight attendant but this is eventually subsumed by a simple yet emotive piano figure: a gentle and touching end to a unique collection of songs.
‘Nanocluster Vol.1’ is a testament to a remarkable synergy between a diverse assembly of strongly individual talents. The fact that it not only succeeds, but excels should be cause for celebration
‘Nanocluster Vol. 1’ track list
1. Ripples // 2. Mrs. Wood // 3. All You Cat Lovers
Immersion, Laetitia Sadier
4. Unclustered // 5. Uncencored // 6. Riding The Wave
Immersion, Ulrich Schnauss
7. Remember Those Days On The Road // 8. Skylarks // 9. So Much Green
10. Cataliz // 11. Metrosphere // 12. The Mundane And The Profound