NEY, a self-titled debut, is an unbridled exploration of a band’s beginning, a tapestry of intimate field recordings, deconstructed fragments and spontaneous encounters, pieced together in two long-form recordings.
During the isolated years of the pandemic, Lisa Fabian, aka Mondlane on ‘The Blue Hour’, traced thoughts, sung melodies and fleeting sentiments into an archive of extemporary field recordings and scattered written notes. In dealing with the loss of a loved figure, she began to enfold grief through folktales, tracing her experience into a myriad of mysticised notations.
Fabian's approach to sound was guided through the lens of a visual art rationale and enriched by music production workshops held at Glasgow's Green Door Studio. In parallel to her journaling of fragmented bedroom recordings, Fabian was presented with her first opportunity to record in the studio. She initiated a collaborative improvised recording session with Matt Robin and Eddie Brooks, originally writing an irresolute score for texture and atmosphere, with no expectation for the recorded session to sound like music.
Guided by the malleable prompts, the trio recorded their first interactions straight to tape. This first encounter is heard on a section of the B-side as well as forming the A-side, 'Gestalt der dämmerung (Figure of dusk)', where spontaneous playing is captured viscerally in the screeching guitars, violent drum strikes and electrostatic cries of dying studio microphones.
NEY have since honed their sound through an array of live shows, adopting a more structured framework. Yet they remain guided by the frenetic energy of their live instrumentation and have built upon Fabian’s tradition of gathering fragmented motifs into mutable arrangements.
On their debut album, presented over 2 sides, NEY refine their experimental approaches to composition by blending live elements with elaborate layering. 'Gestalt der dämmerung (Figure of dusk)' is guided by Lisa Fabian’s unwavering vocal direction, a fever dream spoken through native tongues of Swedish and German. Fabian recorded her take as a continuous overdub, intuitively responding to the accidental happenings of the piece, heightening the raw spontaneity with her heady rhythmic cadence.
'Listen to the water' is compiled as an intricate mosaic of sonic fractions. Here, NEY draw on their evolving archive of field recordings. Sounds made over disparate locations in varied environments coalesce into an interlaced narrative, a carousel of slides depicting intimate glimpses of identity and family. Experiments with instruments are captured in raw and ephemeral forms; distorted guitar is pitched and degraded on reel-to-reel tape, and encounters with harp and key harp are inquisitively documented.
In one of the most arresting moments, a medieval Swedish lullaby is sung beneath a tunnel on the Glasgow River Kelvin during a rainstorm. Fabian utilises the natural echo of the tunnel, layering her bewitching vocals amongst the fluctuating rhythm of tapping raindrops. This scenario epitomises the sensitive interplay between the performer and their environment throughout the record, the pliable narrative shaped by divine instances of fortuitous sonic synergy.