For the last few weeks, my life has been lost inside a chaotic mess… clothes, books and pieces of paper strewn across my bedroom floor, a mountain of food wrappers and unwashed plates gathering dust. I’m in self-destruct mode and something needs to change. Writing has always been such a positive outlet for me but lately I’ve been avoiding doing the things I love. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate, my eyes straining into the dim light of my laptop screen… fingers fumbling across the keyboard trying to piece together my thoughts. Even listening to music has felt like a chore.
The band that I so often turn to in times of disrepair is MONEY. Having watched them from the very beginning, I feel a personal connection with their journey, which culminated in the release of debut album ‘The Shadow of Heaven’ (Bella Union) and a momentous performance at M.I.F in 2013. It was a strange experience staring at Jamie Lee’s naked torso as I danced next to Hayley Cropper, a sea of Mancunians singing every word of ‘Letter To Yesterday’ with me.
Lee’s dark poetic lyricism, with it’s moments of intimacy and inner madness were always a focal point in my love for MONEY, but hidden deeper within the musical layers was the tender work of shy guitarist Charlie Cocksedge. Now in the process of revealing solo material that he wrote in between touring, it’s clear from these blossoming compositions that Cocksedge is the sun to Lee’s moon… a creative dynamic that works beautifully in harmony together, but individually is just as captivating.
‘Be‘ is a 10 minute instrumental piece that delivers subtle melodies and the kind of twinkling progressive sound that delicately brings your imagination alive. With influences ranging from Nils Frahm to Jonny Greenwood, Cocksedge’s ambient noise is a slow-burning and expansive world, as emotionally powerful as it is technically brilliant. Music like this will always be there for me when I’m struggling, like tiny fragments of light managing to find a way through the cracks in my head.
Brooklyn based Lee Sargent is an artist worth falling in love with. As guitarist in alternative rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Sargent played a notable role in my musical awakening, but only now do I realise his true genius.
There is a touch of early Sigur Ros in Noa Eini, one of many cinematic compositions that I have discovered… layers of instrumentation wrapped up in a crackling electronic beauty. His experience working with brother Tyler on the film score to Alex Karpovsky’s film Woodpecker (which also featured Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood) has undoubtedly helped shape his creative path… a rich neo-classical influence that goes beyond the mundane and into the unreal. If you want instant gratification, move along… this is the work of a master painter with the ability to find depth, resonance and emotion in every note.
With the cold winter nights starting to set in, and Christmas fast approaching… I figured it’s the perfect time for me to give my first gift. Tru Luv is proud to announce the release of Insular, a beautiful 3 track electronica EP, by Manchester based Espher. Available to download free now: https://truluv.bandcamp.com/album/tl002-insular-ep.
Lead single ‘To The Sky’ received its premiere to critical acclaim on Clash
On a personal note, my friendship with producer Ben Pearson, goes far beyond an appreciation for his music – although it certainly brought us together. We first met in 2010, when I was promoting The Strange Death Of Liberal England & Patterns (then called Elmo Logic) and a band Ben had been playing with were booked to open. Their songwriter unprofessionally decided to pull out pretty much on the eve of the show. Ben kindly offered to step in with his own project Swansong, and even though he’d never played his own music live before, I was impressed by the performance. Cath Aubergine, a legendary Mancunian music writer, also saw something that night, enough to make me think he was worth keeping an eye on.
A couple of years later and I’d found unexpected musical success in Christian AIDS/Stay Positive, but now I was back in Manchester and in need of a new creative outlet. Ben was in a similar position, and with Moses Gold we found that direction. I knew quite quickly that Ben was a diamond in the rough, his technical ability unquestionable, but what set him apart was the emotional heart at the core of his electronic compositions. An inspiring and passionate man, he was able to bring out the best in me, making me feel comfortable and helping me to believe in myself during my lowest moments. I loved working together on tracks like ‘Powder and Blood’, ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘Visions’ … hopefully these creations will stand the test of time.
Espher as an artist in his own right is starting to blossom. His ongoing a/v series of musical Fragments are definitely worth investigating (there are currently 22 tracks on youtube) as a clear insight into the direction he is going, a more minimal and ambient body of work influenced by Nils Frahm. In the New Year, Ben is moving to Australia, and I’m going to miss him not only as a creative partner, but as one of my closest friends. I have every confidence he’s going to continue to do amazing things.
Forgive me for my lack of writing this past month (I almost feel like a stranger to my own blog) but after much stress and frustration, I’ve finally moved into my new home in Whalley Range. At first glance it might seem like a small self-contained apartment, but to me it represents a new beginning. The road I now find myself walking down every day is sheltered by large swaying trees, and directly opposite my front door is a beautiful old college building. Having shared living space for most of my adult life, my walls are now my own… and this sense of freedom can only be a positive thing.
Freedom is an important thing for Tru Luv too. I have no-one telling me who I can or can’t write about… no guidelines or word limits. I have no advertisers to satisfy or financial pressure to generate hits. Each discovery I make and share with you is a direct reflection of my own personal taste.
Manchester based Inkling is an artist I’ve written about before: a slow burning side project of MONEY’s Charlie Cocksedge, his productions are neither immediate nor attention seeking, but rather shy and slow revealing. Bearing resemblance to the work of minimalist composer Nils Frahm, Stray is an absorbing piece that understands the need for intimacy; each note played with the lightest of touch… a sense of growing freedom is found across it’s 9 minute duration. As I walk under these swaying trees, Stray is the perfect soundtrack to my new beginning.