Nathan Fake - Steam Days [Border Community - 2012]Boasting a heap of remix work for the Warp and Ninja Tune labels as well as for Radiohead, Nathan Fake has been around the block a few times. Debuting at age 19 with the DJ-hailed EP Outhouse, Fake has made a name for himself producing “chameleon electronic” music which borrows equally from house, early (Warp Records, duh) IDM, sparse dubstep , skittering glitch-hop, chiptune, techno, acid, you-name-it.
With this 2012 release, Steam Days, Fake cites a back-to-basics approach in blending the history-of-popular-dance-electronic-as-we-know-it into simplistic, easy to passively consume melodic beat tunes. The album strikes me as something which works best when enjoyed passively on a commute. Nothing revolutionary, just decent tunes centered on no-frills melodies. There is some use of clever production techniques but nothing over-the-top like the excessive ‘wub wub’ of current generic dubstep.
While definitely a decent listen, I feel there isn’t much to grab onto here. Everything checks out technically and the unique style blend makes for a definitive sound. The rhythms are varied, the synth timbres run the gamut from airy to gritty. There’s just a certain lackadaisical quality that I can’t quite pinpoint – which delineates a certain limited shelf life. Better check it out, before it expires.