"Vagrant" by The North Sea. From the new album "Grandeur & Weakness" out now on Rubber City Noise. Video by Jeremy Bible.
The North Sea
Grandeur & Weakness
Rubber City Noise
Grandeur & Weakness is the final album from Brad Rose’s The North Sea, a project that has traversed a wide range of phenomenal sound territories, and it is an sublimely uncanny farewell from one of experimental music’s most ambitious names.
Rose (best known as the polymath mastermind behind Digitalis and scores of projects) oversees an assemblage of sound sources evoking the history of electric music. From synthesizer soundscapes that seek to reconcile the limits of timbre to concrete sampling and collage, G&W plays a crash course in sonic evocation. Clearly in control of The North Sea sound, Rose notes that he has “never spent more time on any solo project than on this record,” and this is apparent throughout the scale of sound and emotion of G&W. There’s a sense of the uncanny, a mysterious unsettling, throughout the album and this is directly attributable to G&W’s aesthetic basis in Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, African percussion, and progressive drone. The “psychology of colonization … and all the awfulness that entails” is viewed both literally and figuratively through an aura of uncanny unease, and this aura becomes a metaphor for both internal psychological states as well as external manifestations of oppression, despair, and release.
Grandeur & Weakness is a final album monumental to both the worldwide experimental music community (in which Rose is an essential player) as well as on a larger scale, addressing the overall human condition where heavy, ineffable emotions and essences swirl intangible and the most clairvoyant understanding comes from the act of listening.
Rubber City Noise is honored to present this limited edition vinyl release of Grandeur & Weakness with full color artwork by Tiny Little Hammers and mastering by John Twells (Type) and James Plotkin. Distribution by Experimedia.
The North Sea
An epic new missive from the ever-prolific Brad Rose under his increasingly less prolific North Sea moniker, “Tacazze Sunbird” comes to us via the somewhat mysterious Crazy Iris label (who are responsible for issuing a superlative KPLR record a couple years ago), and is unique in his repertoire as it’s comprised of two side-length pieces and focuses on the harsher end of the sound spectrum. Opener “Suicide Spin” is as bleak as the title implies, with seething electronic drones set against negative space and otherworldly oscillations. “Over Under” is even more punishing and stark, with a caustic cycling tone beginning the side slowly evolving into a miasma of crumbling noise. This is the bleakest and most noise-oriented material I’ve heard from Brad to date, and it’s also some of his strongest. Brad recently told me that he was finally putting the North Sea to bed, and if this is that project’s swan song, it’s one hell of an exit. - Alex Cobb, Experimedia