Why is the night sad?
It’s earlier this year and I’m reeling from one thing and another and I see this line from a math-rock zine, and it reads ‘late night sounds from a familiar face’, and I think before I follow the link that I know who it will be. Hunch is right. FTSE is Sam Manville, a Caucasian male based halfway up England who makes rickety, lonesome beats, some of which he collected together at the start of 2013 and called BEGIN.
Let me tell you why I love LIES. Bumps and clicks lag over a field recording, indistinct cafe chat, cutlery biting plate and glass set on table. That synth line moans out, wrenched from a song we knew as kids and now stripped of all melodrama, set to stumbling scrapes from the sweaty cores of small clubs rammed with indifferent young adults who’ve heard it all before. It’s childhood smashing into a half-lived present, nostalgic and confused and nervous. SHADAHS goes one better, Manville shivering out a scared comedown whisper over glowing Gold Panda pads and an insistent kick that works its way up to rave speed (almost), the furthest emotional point from someone who once spat ‘I don’t like dance music and I don’t think I ever will’ with such conviction, over breakneck hardcore that pulled in five directions at once.
It’s that new fragility that’s so startling on BEGIN. The synth swoops on BUTTA FLIE are M83 with his sampler smashed and limbs pulled off, some weird horror-movie kid jeering ghostlike over the top. Where CNT HLP MSLF comes on at first like bellicose dancehall, its fierce grind soon falls away and Manville’s adrift in a sea of lonely phosphorescence and unanswered questions. For Y IZ, a quivering acoustic rustles underneath keys that twinkle like malfunctioning Christmas lights, the static-soaked beat hitting late, everything riddled with imperfection and raggedness, and that much more human for these things. And somewhere a girl asks:
Why is the night so sad?