As RongoRongo member Jonny Davis Le Brun delivers an ambient EP set to warm the most wintry of cockles, Getintothis’ Paul Higham relives the DIY spirit of the early noughties.
Mitternacht is the musical project of Liverpool’s Jonny Davis Le Brun and to awaken us from our New Year slumber he has delivered to our ears, Experiments, a four song ambient paean to the turn of the millennium, internet-inspired, DIY boom.
A member of RongoRongo, Jonny Davis Le Brun crept into our wider consciousness with the release last year of a collaborative piece alongside Rest Relax Records label mate Hadaka. Released under the portmanteau Hadakanacht, the piece entitled Plagiarizing the Pegasus/Bloodletting of Chan-Bahlum in H Minor offered a tantalising glimpse into their combined world. An uncomfortable, oppressive and anxiety-inducing listen, it built in dramatic intensity culminating in an almost suffocating cacophony while remaining uncompromisingly beautiful. It proved an arresting and thought provoking listen.
What then of Experiments?
Well, it is a jittery collection of outtakes said to have been inspired partly by the freedom of musical discovery provided by the likes of Bandcamp and the creative impetus that the internet offered to budding music-makers. Essentially a piece of ambient electronica, it veers more towards the minimalist krautrock-influenced end of the spectrum than the heavier and more opaque drone-inspired fare.
Second track Don’t wait (key change) exists amid the murky hinterland somewhere between the Elektronische Musik of, say, Kraftwerk and the rhythmic minimalism of house music. The Clangers is an altogether heavier beast with darker bass-led drones augmenting the anxious mood to create an almost overbearing atmosphere which build to a climactic frenzy. The closer, Come Over To Rhodes House brings the listener back down to earth as the lightness reappears and a enrapturing repetitive beat gently soothes the soul.
The EP works perfectly as a collection; it hangs together beautifully and is impeccably paced. The piece in many ways almost mirrors the arc of a good night out as the optimistic exuberance gives way to a darker tone, before the gentle comedown as the dawn of a new day approaches.
Released on 2 January and available to buy as a download on Bandcamp for the princely sum of £0.50 it is perhaps the best value that you’ll find in this season of sales. Being on Bandcamp you can, of course, pay more and for music of this quality you’d struggle to be disappointed at ten times the price.