Therunningchelsea - 'In The Future, We Shall Spinn'
Posted on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 | 1 Comment
And next up here on Endless Window, it's the weather, followed by the meaning of life and the lottery numbers. But until then, here's a new transmission for you...
Therunningchelsea, recording and performing nom de plume of a man named Tom Hollingworth, has been making his way through the undergrowth the last few years. Left behind have been plate-spinning solo gigs that use loop pedals, effects and musical virtuosity to pilot folk forward to the twenty-first century and several recordings that incorporate further instruments and sonic ideas into the brew to take you on some very strange journeys indeed (with previous album The Moonstruck Confederate especially commended on these grounds.)
Now though it's the turn of his new full-length In The Future, We Shall Spinn, set for online release on 17th January via Bandcamp (with the proceeds going to the youth suicide-prevention charity Papyrus). The mangled spelling (and, may we confess, in-joke) of the title points at the direction taken here: the mood here is drunken, slurred and set constantly towards some unknown chaos.
Opener The Smoking Skull sets the tone of fragmented lucidity and fever dream free association with its stoners chant turned wail from the depths - "Golden? Dooberstein! Golden? Dooberstein!"- tumbling into some lurching drums and fucked-up funk bass before the song finally rises up from the mist, equal parts vengeful and playful. There's something of the Lord of Misrule to these dark rituals, that's for sure.
From here on, it's equal parts altered state triumph and hungover disgust. For all the darkness and squalor on display here - and between the Aidan Moffat-esque narrative of Le Petite Mort and the paranoid burnout of This Fucking Enigma, there's plenty of that - there's still a small, vital hope beating amongst all the chaos. On the driving crest and wave of Flick! We Go On, there's a message of endurance and perseverance, while the hipster-baiting LDN Doesn't Exist and The Levels contain the wit necessary to balance out the album's darkest outpourings.
As befits the lyrical content then, this is a suitably topsy-turvy, schizophrenic beast musically. Much of the album is more intense and rythmically focused than previous Therunningchelsea work, with distorted bass forming the back-bone of many tracks here, while Mirror's bizzaro hip-hop synth meets slide-whistle sound is a truly unique concoction. There's still plenty of showcases through for Hollingworth's superb guitar playing, and brief moments of clam such as Ground Zero's beautiful acapella arrangement, but this record unmistakeably pushes Therunningchelsea in a new direction: singer-songwriter folk and half-remembered alternative hip-hop from the night before interbred to create an Anglo-Saxon answer to Why? and the Anticon roster.
In The Future, We Will Spinn is an album whose distinct identity and bold musical choices mark a new chapter in the ongoing evolution of Therunningchelsea. Ignoring considerations of live performance almost entirely for a new soundscape, the album stands as a representation of frenzied youth, dazed consumption and madness up there with Malcolm Lowry's modernist classic Under the Volcano in its vivid depiction and ambition. Don't let a release this good get ignored.
Listen to Building 7 from In The Future, We Will Spinn below: