Berlin’s Nat Fowler renders his meticulous Novoline project to Not Waving’s Ecstatic with an inimitable marriage of automated electronic process and live improvisation on his 2nd album, Movements, continuing a lifelong quest for esoteric knowledge and a love of archaic computer hardware.
Modelled with mis-used software, run on two separate Atari ST's using only era-consistent hardware Yamaha FM synthesis via MIDI, pitch tuned to a pure 3:2 ratio Pythagorean scale centred on 432hz, Movements is the compelling, awkward result of obtuse production techniques and painstaking trial and error; basically experimentation at the service of discovering a sound he is genuinely warranted to call his own, as he explains:
“I like the idea of using restrictions in order to find and push boundaries, from limiting which octaves I use to how many notes at a time. I use the only PC capable of MIDI that had no multitasking, so communication is immediate, a direct mechanical communication from my fingers to the sounds is created. I feel lucky because technology has accelerated so fast since the first digital synthesisers and PCs that nothing since the early 1980s has been really pushed to its limits.”
In that sense, he can be placed in a small category of operators - including The Automatics Group, Dave Noyze, Lorenzo Senni and V/Vm among them - who persistently gnaw at the boundaries between dance-pop and avant-electronica, and with all of whom he shares a capacity for hearing the poetry of singular frequencies, unique pitch combinations and the strange electronic timbres just waiting to be born from overlooked, outmoded equipment.
While at times it may recall the saltiest digital tones
and gait of early Chicago house and Belgian New Beat, there’s a futuristic funk and idiosyncratic ambiguity to Movements that entirely belongs to Novoline; whether bubbling up the mutant dembow lacquer of opener, The Movement 1 (Pythagoras 4), radiating form the tightly-bound, curdled funk of Hot Piece, or jabbing like a bag of cyborg slow house cats in The Movement 2 (Pythagoras 3).
released October 6, 2016
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