Nick Carlisle is an auteur who has well and truly made his stamp on the landscape of DIY music culture in these isles.
Originally from Dromore in Co. Down, the Brighton-based composer, performer and producer has deftly spanned whole soundworlds in projects such as Peepholes, Bamboo, Katy and Nick and Lean Logic. Last year, he even ventured out solo with his sublime, QFT Belfast-comissioned score for 1922 silent film Häxan.
Pay attention and you’ll trace a revelatory journey that leads to his upcoming album Bloody Saturnalia. Taking its title from Sebastian Haffner’s Defying Hitler, it’s a self-produced effort that sees Carlisle with past and current collaborators including Bamboo’s Rachel Horwood (who also performs in Trash Kit and Bas Jan), Lean Logic’s Rose Keeler-Schäffeler, Foz Foster of the Monochrome Set and David Devant & His Spirit Wife, Bears Den’s Marcus Hamblett, Aubrey Simpson of Pale Blue Eyes and Simon Adams, who performs drums and percussion throughout.
It’s a tantalising proposition that comes into sharp focus on new single ‘End of Terrain,’ which is officially released tomorrow (22nd September. A sublimely crafted paean written following the passing of Carlisle’s father, it conjures an air of latter-day Wire (and in its perfectly-pitched coda, Pawn Hearts-era Van der Graaf Generator) all while turning up the contrast on Carlisle’s very own wonderfully spectral synth-pop sound.
Speaking about the track, he said: “I took myself off to Iceland for a few days to try and see the Northern Lights, maybe because it seemed like the sort of thing Dad and I might have done – a step up from getting up at 2am to watch lightning storms as we used to do when I was a child. Anyway, I didn’t see a bloody thing, just a faint green tinge only visible in long-exposure photos. But! With a little poetic licence, in the song the lights are there, dancing in the sky; the souls of recently departed loved ones if you believe the Inuit legend.”
Sealing the deal is an exquisite AI video from renowned Belfast digital artist and filmmaker Glenn Marshall. Across four minutes, his visuals provide a supremely shapeshifting accompaniment to a gem of a song.
Bloody Saturnalia is released via The Colour Inverted Records on 24th November
Nick will also be performing his original soundtrack Häxan along with a screening of the film, armed with a Mellotron & Prophet 5 synthesiser:
28th January 2024 – The Barbican, London, tickets on sale November.
Photo by Aubrey Simpson