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Me Lost Me & Nathalie Stern
October 7 @ 8:00 pm - 11:30 pm£6
We bring together two intriguing titans of the North East for your edification…
Me Lost Me is the solo electronic music project of Newcastle based artist, composer and musician Jayne Dent, current Artist in Residence at internationally renowned concert venue Sage Gateshead. Described by BBC Radio 6’s Tom Robinson as a “brilliant peculiar noise”, Me Lost Me delights in experimenting with genre, taking influence from folk, electronica, art pop, ambient and noise music to create a beguiling mix of soaring vocals, synth, field recordings and hypnotic rhythms. Her live shows are atmospheric, dark and playful, with a repertoire that explores storytelling through original songs, improvisations and reworkings of traditional ballads.
Following the release of her debut album ‘Arcana’ in 2018 she has been touring the UK extensively, with notable performances including BBC Radio 3’s ‘Exposure’ at Fruit in Hull, Manchester Folk Horror Festival, Northern Electric Festival, and recently supported Maximo Park at the Virgin Money Unity Arena. Me Lost Me was named in NE Volume’s ‘Top 10 Artists to See Live in 2021’, after gaining attention for her experimental and adaptable approach to livestreams and online works during 2020.
Her highly anticipated second album ‘The Good Noise’, released in November 2020 and supported by Tallbird Records and an enthusiastic crowdfunding campaign, demonstrates a maturing of her sound and a deepening of her exploration of landscape, sonic texture, storytelling and her experiments with genre.
https://www.melostme.bandcamp.com/album/the-good-noise https://melostme.com https://www.facebook.com/mel0stme @melostme – Instagram @melostme – Twitter
Of Swedish origin and now living in Newcastle upon Tyne, Nathalie first served her apprenticeship in Swedish pop punk band Candysuck, which influenced the emerging Swedish feminist music movement in the mid-90s, before moving to the UK and founding the guitar/drums duo Lake Me in 2001. As a solo act, and keen to explore traditional Swedish folk heritage and more experimental sounds, she released her debut album ‘Firetales’ in 2009 on her own label Minta Rec and on the German label The Company With The Golden Arm.
Her long awaited follow-up, ‘Nerves and Skin’, was released in 2019 and builds on the experimental folk traditions of her debut, awash with vocal harmonies, synth loops and drones but with the maturity of an artist who knows their craft and is at the top of their game. Using a sparse set up of loop pedals, vocal effects and synths, Nathalie sculpts haunting soundscapes that fuse a love of old folk songs, horror and folk lore with vocals and lo-fi electro textures. The album was released on Inverted Grim Mill Recordings and Cruel Nature Records on CD, limited white vinyl and limited cassette tape (sold out).
Nathalie is often joined on stage by Lindsay Duncanson and Marek Gabrysch from the experimental performance collective Noize Choir, and whose vocal effects augment the tracks on ‘Nerves and Skin’, ranging from industrial noise to melting glaciers.
Having toured extensively throughout the UK, Europe and North America, Nathalie has supported luminaries like Silver Apples, tune-yards, Daniel Higgs, Damo Suzuki and was invited to perform an improv gig in Austin, Texas, with Thor Harris from Swans.
She performed at BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival in 2017, and is featured in ‘Folk Horror Revival Volume II – Sweet Fruits’ (Wyrd Harvest Press, 2018), a book series with content contributions by today’s folk horror practitioners including literature, poetry and artwork. Nathalie also runs the regular radio show, HÄX, on CAMP Radio.
https://www.nathaliestern.com https://www.facebook.com/nathaliesternmusic https://nathaliesternmusic.bandcamp.com/ https://cruelnaturerecordings.bandcamp.com/ https://invertedgrim-millrecordings.bandcamp.com/ http://www.listen.camp/
‘Nerves and Skin’ Reviews NARC Magazine Nerves & Skin is replete with sinister drone for a 21
st century witch trial of dark folk and sweeping gothic breathiness. It reverberates in an endless cathedral to horror and pulsing angelic nightmares that chorally soar into the heights of harmonic beauty whilst a blackened chain link holds you in ethereal limbo, at one with the synth buzz.
This is Nathalie Stern’s long awaited follow-up to Firetales, which was released almost 10 years ago, and on initial listen is a very different affair with its intimate vocal loops and strong Scandinavian folk influence. This new album is cavernous in comparison; its opening track begins with a dying breath for all that went before, then throbs with a rich droning bass synth and echoing vocals backed up by local artists Lindsay Duncanson and Marek ‘Maz’ Gabrysch. Maintaining a folk input in its structure throughout, the album becomes a Wicker Man-like soundtrack for modernity. Stand out track is Stig In Lucia begins with some beautiful layered traditional sounding folk lyrics and ends with a full-on synth possession that wouldn’t be out of place in the Exorcist. Nathalie fits perfectly into the long burgeoning scene for gothic folk and hauntological synth music as manifested on labels like Ghost Box or A Year In The Country; she evokes a sense of our deeper cultural memory, of shadows in the woods and of feelings long suppressed or purposely hidden. It’s truly a modern folk tale with consummate sinister undertones to scare you into behaving properly lest the witch gets you. A strong sophomore release that shows maturity and an understanding of theme and tradition, and I’m hoping it doesn’t take as long to get a third instalment from this intriguing North East-based talent.
ATTN: Magazine Each of these songs is a glimpse of eternity. Their incarnation on Nerves And Skin lasts only a few minutes apiece, but their recurrent elements – cyclical harmonies, synthesiser loops – could continue forever, bearing witness to the flux of the landscape around them over the course of months and years, never succumbing to the pull of decay. The record reads like a compilation of immutable and immaterial truths, summoned fleetingly into corporeal life before being released back into the dark. Given Stern’s connection to folk music (beautifully evident in her layered vocal refrains, which form a crescent around the melody like faces in firelight), it’s logical that the execution of these songs should brim with a sense of both heritage and possibility. Yet resting within this edgeless terrain is the mental image of Nathalie’s thoroughly finite home studio: an imagined haven of hardware synths and laptop glow. It’s both a panoramic earthen sprawl and the gestures of a solitary body; each song reaches either into the stratosphere or stops at arm’s length, depending on how you look at it.
The body also looms large within the instrument choices. Most obviously it manifests in the sounds of the body itself: the hissing breaths that punctuate the mantric return of “Luchadora”, or the wilting choral overdubs on “Interlude”, and to a certain extent within the exquisite brass section that flowers unexpectedly in the latter half of “Because Science”. But it’s also there in the rudimentary buzz of Stern’s electronics. Save for those murky gusts of drone that swirl through tracks like “Deep Sleep” and “Then You Talk Of War”, the tones are largely stripped back to a raw palette of unaffected signals and surface fizz. These textures are the very depiction of electronics as a modern extension of the body, prior to their lifting into the cerebral abstraction of excessive FX and EQ; the melody on “Here To Stay And Here To Belong” throbs as though responding to Stern’s index finger pulse, with the motif kept simple enough to flow intuitively through the simple twitches of the wrists and hands. More than anything this melodic minimalism only abets the album’s inevitable reprisal by future generations in the decades and centuries ahead, when the time comes to materialise Stern’s immutable truths once more.
Although now resident in Newcastle, Stern’s roots are Swedish, and it’s traditional Swedish folk which informs her music. While I have precisely no knowledge or experience of Swedish folk music, the compositions here, as the title suggests, conjure a sense of the barest essence of human existence. Nerves and skin the components essential to the senses, especially touch, are here exposed and highly sensitive. As much as anything it’s the organic feel that permeates the album that renders it so
subtly affecting as it drifts and melds to form a sort of biological symbiosis with the listener’s internal mechanisms while it plays. Stern’s voice is the primary instrument here, and she builds layers of harmony, often by unconventional means, with breaths and short, wordless sounds looped to form cyclical motifs atop sparse synth drones
‘Luchadora’ brings low-impact, lurching beats that thud soft and there’s a heartbeat thump on ‘Then You Talk of War’, which delves into darker territories with moody bass oscillations over which layers of choral vocals build majestically. ‘Deep Sleep’ wheezes monotonously, a lugubrious drone: Nathalie’s vocal is barely a whisper, haunting, ethereal, the melody a sing-song lullaby with an uncanny, shadowy twist that may not exactly be Chuck Palahniuk, but is still moderately unsettling. ‘Moderately unsettling’ is a fair summary of the atmosphere that creeps across the compositions as the album unfolds. Although fear chords creep all over the gloomy ‘Stig in Lucia’, it’s not overtly dark, but the disembodied vocal echoes evoke a certain cognitive dissonance. And for all its oddness and otherness, it’s on an instinctive, human level that you experience Nerves and Skin: you feel it, somehow, almost subliminally, and it touches parts rarely reached and in ways that are abstract and indefinably, but nevertheless real.
Bearded Gentlemen Music
If your idea of “heavy” is the Misfits or Napalm Death, it’s likely that Nerves & Skin is unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Same goes for pop fans, indie fans or the great unwashed. This is a very good thing in my opinion as somethings should surprise people, such as when metalheads in the 90s’ adopted The Prodigy. Nathalie has created a dark, brooding and pulsating monster here, one that is beautifully played, whilst at the same time being uniquely uncomfortable as well. There is a Scott Walker Tilt period atmosphere to the music, with industrial/avant-garde overtones as well. You will be lucky to find anything as haunting in the winter months as Nerves & Skin, what a great sophomore record, get it now!
The Sunday Experience
New groove from the Cruel Nature imprint, as ever limited in nature, just 75 of these all pressed on cassette and probably destined for a quick sell out. This be Nathalie Stern with ‘Nerves and Skin’ from off which we’ve more than mildly smitten (on initial quick listening) with both ‘Spectre’ and the pursuing ‘Stig in Lucia’. The former a shadowy spectral visitation part haunted part hymnal, a primitive spellweaver sounding much like a fabled siren drawing close all who hear her bewitching love call. The latter, chamber electronics of a clearly classic and becoming 4AD / Mute variety that’s very much turned and tuned into the mystical and ethereal worlds of Dead Can Dance, Nina Hagen and a youthful Fever Ray albeit as though channelling Nico.