This week our UK correspondent catches up with one of Europe's brightest techno stars.
I first had my circuits rewired by
Nathan Fake two years ago in the pitch-black backroom of Amsterdam's Melkweg club. Having heard the dreamy, Kompakt-ish throb of early singles 'The Sky Was Pink' and 'Dinamo', I'd pegged him as another geek-suave, thirtysomething German with a made-up name. Instead, Nathan was a cherubic, excitable British kid from East Anglia via Reading who claimed that Fake was his real surname and who proceeded to outflank lush-techno godhead Michael Mayer with a set of dizzying, kaleidoscopic joy.
Nathan's 2006 debut album Drowning In A Sea Of Love— although a pretty faultless amalgam of Selected Ambient Works and Loveless—actually came as a slight disappointment in that it deliberately shied away from the dancefloor. Nathan does that nu-gaze stuff as well as anyone, but when there's piston-pumped propulsion driving his trippy, ecstatic noise, he's untouchable.
So it was good to see him back in haywire techno mode on Thursday at Canvas. Retooling his Drowning material with heavier sonic artillery, he sent wave after wave of skronky euphoria crashing out of the speakers. Rhythmic and melodic hooks came thick and fast, each one rapidly evaporating to make way for the next, or reducing into a single beam of diaphanous noise. Nathan runs his laptop through an arsenal of gizmos which he kneads and tweaks constantly, physically shaping the music like a crazed sculptor. It's exhilarating stuff, and the only thing missing was a similarly ambitious visual backdrop to max out the pleasurably dazed feeling of sensory overload.
Still only 23, the possibilities for Nathan are vast, having already established himself independently of scene or trend (a tricky thing in techno/electronica) and under the benevolent stewardship of the venerable James Holden and his Border Community label. He promises that his new material is "not necessarily more techno, but definitely heavier." Anticipate it like you would a free trip to the Moon.