Noble Rot is a new collaborative studio project, featuring METZ‘s and Weird Nightmare’s Alex Edkins and Holy Fuck‘s Graham Walsh. The project can trace its origins back to 2011: Walsh was enlisted to produce METZ’s 2012 self-titled full-length debut. And since then, the pair have remained in a state of creative orbit.
Slated for a March 24, 2023 release through Joyful Noise, the duo’s full-length debut together, Heavenly Bodies, Repetition, Control reportedly shows Edkins and Walsh joyously stepping outside and beyond the lines drawn by their previously released work, with the album’s material being the culmination of a year’s worth of feverish studio experimentation influenced by film soundtracks, experimental noise, kosmiche muzik, ambient, psychedelia and more.
While their distance musical sensibilities remain intact, Noble Rot provides the duo with a new vehicle for pushing their boundaries of sonic exploration. The album’s material will reward the listener with a songs filled to the brim with unbridled curiosity and boundless excitement — with the hopes that it’ll surprise and thrill both longtime fans and periphery lurkers alike.
Heavenly Bodies, Repetition, Control‘s first single “Casting No Light” is a densely layered soundscape featuring glistening and wobbling synths, hypnotic bass lines, spiraling and looping guitar lines, and motorik rhythms are paired with chanted mantra-like vocals. While effortlessly and seamlessly meshing the long-held creative instincts of its individual creators, “Casting No Light” is underpinned by a mischievous, almost childlike sense of adventure and an irresistible groove. And adding to the collaborative nature of the project, Wire‘s and Immersion‘s Colin Newman and Minimal Compact‘s and Immersion’s Malka Spigel lend a hand, contributing bass and heavily modulated guitars to the song’s motorik pulse — before closing out with bongo drums and howling synths.
Heavenly Bodies, Reputation, Control is included in Joyful Noise’s The White Label Series. Currently in its sixth year, The White Label Series taps influential curators and creatives to shine a light on a previously unreleased album of their choice. This year’s list of curators is equally impressive as it includes Julian Baker, Sean Ono Lennon, Helado Negro, The Jesus Lizard‘s David Yow, Speedy Ortiz‘s Sadie Dupuis and No Joy‘s Jasmine White-Gluz, who chose Noble Rot’s debut for the series.
“Graham Walsh and Alex Edkin’s new musical partnership captures what I love most about their other musical endeavors (Holy Fuck, Metz); expansive production, musical moments of anxiety and calmness, unexpected earworms,” White-Gluz says of choice. “I love records like this that make me go ‘how did they make that sound?!’ and relisten to a song over and over.“
Directed by John Smith, the accompanying video for “Casting No Light” features an array of different colored shapes and lines squiggling and and moving along to the song’s motorik pulse. Smith, who’s a self-described “. . . long-standing admirer of synesthesia and its explorations by artists such as Kandinsky and experimental filmmakers such as Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren, and Walter Ruttman, I have been consistently inspired by the concept and its connection between sound and visual. For over two decades, I have been constantly exploring ways to express these connections, and upon first hearing the trance-like and multi-layered composition of “Casting No Light”, I saw a great opportunity to apply these concepts. With the assistance of Aaron Campbell, an interactive designer friend, we developed a system that translates every layer of sound into a corresponding visual component. Enjoying this experience with headphones will provide a much richer experience since you can better hear all of the nuances and textures in the song.”