Tuning into this Late Night Tales record is the same as walking through an autumnal landscape. Hoodies have replaced t-shirts. The sun is in the process of cooling. There’s a reminder at our feet – the unforgiving presence of winter will soon begin to shrivel the brittle and listless leaves that litter the path. We are joined by David Holmes. As we set off, his mix for Late Night Tales is playing.
The DJ and producer has assembled a deeply personal collection of songs. They lie side by side, littering the music like a loose gathering of October leaves. Some of these songs are colored a gentle yellow, while others are a romantic red. They crunch beneath our steps, and in a final burst of brilliance, the mix is peppered with exclusives and collaborations. With headphones clasped to the skull, we take a stroll through God’s country.
The latest Late Night Tales collection is a soundtrack for life. Although it may be a deeply personal expression, the songs are unifying; they’re for everyone. Starting off with “Great Father Spirit In The Sky” (Barry Woolnough), the steady chant is a reflection on things bigger than ourselves, of something majestic. The afterlife is explored, but so is the present moment…seconds must be savored and enjoyed. As such, this collection is an extremely thoughtful one, with a wondrous depth and an optimistic tone. The tree stands in the middle of the music, holding the branches of family, connection, reminiscence and remembrance up and within its gnarled, ancient arms.
Images of spirituality light up the music. It’s aimed at the above and at the ground, our surroundings and our relationship to it. It’s a form of communion. Nature herself is incredibly beautiful, and the songs enjoy a deep and lasting appreciation of all that she is and all that she does. We are joined too by some finger-plucked ramblings out in the country; some traditional folk music coupled with poetic lyricism, sitting under the failing bronze of the sun’s light.
Slow lilts, ponderous rhythms and reflective vocals all live inside this timeless forest. The dusty open chords let in the light of The Children of Sunshine‘s “It’s A Long Way To Heaven”, a two-minute sojourn that moves from hopelessness and doubt to pale belief and certain resolution; exclusion to inclusion. As we know, music (and, in some instances, faith) is all about the latter. The blushing, sublime progression of “Love Is Strange”, by the incomparable Buddy Holly, runs throughout the romantic tune, but there’s also a sweet innocence and a deep nostalgia. This is a song designed around the intoxication of first love, of high school afternoons as the bell rings out. When love strikes, this is the sound of thrilling surrender, a feeling of complete, consuming thankfulness which will never change or fade.
Neo Maya‘s “I Won’t Hurt You” adds a hint of psychedelia, while recollections send the music back. Memories are also intrinsically woven into the record. The neon shimmers of “Love As A Ghost” (Documenta) shine a hazy and intermittent light upon a haunting romance. The rosy tone is a warm and steady pulse, but it’s also slightly distorted. Like love, there are plenty of murkier moments. The spiritual side to the music never becomes suffocating or claustrophobic. It’s a very open record. The music’s a life force residing in the middle of a forest; the circle cannot be broken. Closer ‘Elsewhere Anchises’ is a perfect end, expressing serenity and joy at the wonder of life, an ambient sojourn featuring a sublime passage read by Irish actor Stephen Rea. You come to a standstill here.
In the cool morning air, under the weak sunshine and with the music for company, you’ll find your answers – there’s nothing to distract you here. It isn’t the sound of the wind that swirls around this life-giving tree, but a quiet voice urging you to stay and listen. (James Catchpole)
‘I walk a lot. It’s amazing for listening to music: your phone or your emails aren’t going and you’re just in the forest listening to music. It’s so intimate. Anyway, I was listening to the KLF’s Chill Out album, which still sounds amazing, but it triggered an idea with concrete sounds through travelling and movement. And one of the things I was trying to do was to use this idea not just (to) break up the moods but also as a metaphor for moving through life and arriving in different destinations or arriving at different stages in different parts of your life’ – David Holmes
Release Date: October 21