Holy Fuck took the world by surprise around 2005 because there was just nothing like them—a hardcore thrift-store found-object punk band with a relentless commitment to rhythm and a sense for atmosphere better matched to a close encounter of the third kind than a simple rock concert. Think Einstürzende Neubauten re-inspired by Fela Kuti with Brian Eno working as keyboard tech and every channel on the mixer set to max power. It was the best ride out there while it lasted, up to and including their 2010 full-length Latin, recorded largely in too-brief breaks while on the road. That album cemented Holy Fuck’s sound and reputation for unapologetic instrumental noise but at the end of yet another insane touring cycle, it was time to take a break …, which turned into a hiatus … which turned into a chance to explore other projects and production work. (Like the bands Lids, Dusted and Etiquette, or production for Metz, Alvvays and Viet Cong.)
They’d been moving faster than they’d ever expected, especially after a 2007 sophomore release that came close to securing Canada’s prestigious Juno and Polaris Music Prize. (Not to mention festival slots at All Tomorrow’s Parties, Glastonbury, Coachella and more—plus Lou Reed said they were the best band he’d seen at SXSW.) The strategy was just to stay busy, says founder and noisemaster Brian Borcherdt, but soon they started to feel like Indiana Jones running from that boulder: “He had to step aside and let things settle!”
But there’s nothing Indiana Jones does better than the shock reveal, is there? And so in 2016 Holy Fuck suddenly announced the release of Congrats, a surprise full-length two years in the making that is by any scientific measure their holiest fuckiest release ever: “When you’re sitting still in a van and staring out the windows, you start to dream about all the other things you want to do,” says Borcherdt. “This album is exactly what we couldn’t do then.”
Makeness can be mapped to the vast, open hills of Scotland, and a desolate ridge of the same name where producer and songwriter Kyle Molleson arrived after a less-trodden path. His childhood was spent moving between Edinburgh, The Outer Hebrides and South West England, before an interest in music and technology in part led to a degree in Electronics at Leeds University. Here, playing bass in Glad Hand led to numerous trips north of the border to work on albums in the hillside studio he helped build.
Drawing on a passion for Afrobeat, New Wave, Folk Music and Detroit Techno – from a unique vantage point in the Scottish wilderness - Makeness’ debut EP contains four largely-instrumental songs, but all still vocal in their movement, openness and depth. Atmospheric and insular opener ‘Rogue’ introduces a debut EP themed around the idea “of having two realities, and not being able to distinguish which one is real life.” It’s a selection caught between places and states, with the rhythmic, increasingly-urgent ‘Laca’ and ‘Langa’ finished following a move to London, and starkly contrasting with the wide open spaces of Makeness’ roots.