British ambient synth-rock outfit, Low Spirits, featuring Fred Macpherson (Spector) and Cavan McCarthy (Swim Deep), releases an astonishing new EP, entitled Worlds Apart.
Low Spirits, who released the trilogy Geiger last spring, delves into a more nebulous atmosphere of synth pop, drawing from a broad range of influences and relishing a new freedom of expression.
Macpherson’s rich, tender vocals in Worlds Apart take centre stage to a minimalistic, slightly industrial sonic texture: a single 909 kick underpins a survivalist romance, imagining a life of contentment ‘off-grid’ in rural England. The haunting vocals from Lucia Fairfull melt into producer Maxwell Sterling’s detuned strings…and a field recording of Birmingham’s Genting Casino.
“We were basically just trying to rip off Depeche Mode,” explains Macpherson, “but then we took the drums out, sent it to Max and Lucia and it just started coming alive. It was strange collaborating while locked down in different places, but it suited the spirit of the song. With Miscall to Prayer we’ve made lots of crap soundtracky techno kind of stuff that should probably never leave the hard drive, but our friend LEEE mixed this one and showed us that less is more.”
The instrumental B-side Miscall to Prayer opens with the gurgled cries of a friend’s newborn before descending into a throb of claps and subs, twisting and turning in a combination of terror and serenity.
This exploration of sound in the realm of electronic music is a welcome one. Where many artists are taking the “anywhere but here” attitude, imagining themselves as cyborgs, crust punk heroes of a crumbling dystopia, or other routes of escapism, Low Spirits dwells, zen-like, in an observant liminal space of the nightmare of post-industrialism, envisioned by William Blake two hundred years ago. Where many shirk off the element of humanity, they calmly embrace – and contemplate it.
Low Spirits’ Geiger trilogy (2020) saw collaborations with drone royalty Blanck Mass and composer Jerskin Fendrix, alongside two videos directed by Thomas Brett.
INTERVIEW WITH FRED MACPHERSON: