The threads of our past never unravel, they hover like invisible webs, occasionally glistening due to a sly angle of the sun. On Multi-Love, Unknown Mortal Orchestra frontman and multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson reflects on relationships: airy, humid longing, loss, the geometry of desire that occurs when three people align. Where Nielson addressed the pain of being alone on II, Multi-Love takes on the complications of being together.
Multi-Love adds dimensions to the band's already kaleidoscopic approach, with Nielson exploring a newfound appreciation for synthesizers. The new songs channel with the spirit of psych innovators without ignoring the last 40 years of music, forming a flowing, cohesive whole that reflects restless creativity. Cosmic escapes and disco rhythms speak to developing new vocabulary, while Nielson's vocals reach powerful new heights. "It felt good to be rebelling against the typical view of what an artists is today, a curator," he says. "It's more about being someone who makes things happen in concrete ways. Building old synthesizers and bringing them back to life, creating sounds that aren't quite like anyone else's. I think that's much more subversive."
While legions of artists show fidelity to the roots of psychedelia, Unknown Mortal Orchestra shares the rare quality that makes the genre's touchstones so vital, constant exploration.
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.