Nathan Fake’s new home suits him. A free transfer from Border Community to Ninja Tune, he has been silent for five years, the time spent in a dark place as he found it hard to come up with music that would suitably follow the excellent 2012 long player ‘Steam Days’. A change of label and a new instrument gave him a different impetus, and as a result the music for ‘Providence’ feels a lot more instinctive, free of binding structures and set rhythms. Instead the melodies unfold with more flexibility, but the most obvious change is in the textures he uses. Big, cathedral-like organ sounds dominate tracks like ‘HoursDaysMonthsSeasons’, which has a really impressive grandeur that gets even bigger in the rush of ‘DEGREELESSNESS’, thanks to some ominous rumbling in the bass area and a whole load of white cymbal noise. Perhaps the most striking track of all is ‘RVK’, where an attractive Chinese flavour to the melody is stopped dead in its tracks by the striking first appearance of vocalist Raphaelle, a really effective technique that zones the listener straight in on what she has to sing. The music on this record operates in massive areas, as though Nathan has been released from all the confines he had earlier and is now standing in a massive field. You could even say he’s outstanding in his field, for ‘Providence’ is one of the best and most powerful electronic albums of the year to date.
5 out of 5