RATTLE - 'Sequence'
Label: Upset The Rhythm
Catalogue Number: UTR108
Formats: LP / CD / DIGITAL
Running Time: 41 mins
Release Date: Friday 2nd November
04. The Rocks
Packaging: Reverse-board sleeve, double-sided printed inner sleeve, download card, black 180g vinyl.
RATTLE is an ongoing musical project concerned with experiments in rhythm, metre and tension. Katharine Eira Brown and Theresa Wrigley make up the duo from Nottingham, who with just drums and occasional vocalisations weave an expanse of percussive vortices. Their songs swirl and envelop with all the physicality and drama of another world pulling together around its own shifting centre of gravity. The drum beats phase and sidestep, they trade accents and overlap, providing a suitably alive terrain for the vocals to explore similar tendencies of pattern. Rattle’s debut album was released in 2016 through Upset The Rhythm / I Own You and was greeted with much critical praise, this often singled out their hypnotic minimalism and ecstatic regard for the dance floor. The following six months saw Rattle support Animal Collective on their UK tour before heading out around Europe with The Julie Ruin. Rattle used these opportunities to try out new material and unconsciously began writing their next album. Brown recalls that “hearing our drums in these larger venues, with amazing sound, made us excited about how beautiful and magic the drums sounded, we were quite spellbound by how they were able to fill a venue so completely.”
‘Sequence’ was written in much the same way as their debut, with the duo facing each other over their shared palette of drums, allowing songs to develop naturally and suggest their own direction. However, Brown and Wrigley were more confident of what they wanted to achieve with this follow up, having already proven the concept watertight through their debut and subsequent concerts. They knew they could wrestle songs out of the silence with such a setup, so afforded themselves greater time to explore extended, long-form composition. ‘Sequence’ is composed of four tracks, each clocking in around 10 mins or over and focused squarely on a deeper resonance with the creative act, illustrative of how ideas build from scratch, of how music can grow out of repetition. Recorded at JT Soar in Nottingham with Phil Booth and Mark Spivey (Rattle’s live sound engineer), the album developed out of these four points, with Rattle honing their sound with detail. Everything was stripped back to just the drums and Brown’s voice. Percussion flourishes were deemed unnecessary, overdubbed layers of vocals were kept to a minimum. As a result, this quartet of songs are more meditative and aware than previous efforts, with the duo’s attentions spent tapping into each track’s potential, mapping out expeditions in tempo and making much of the journey over destination.
‘DJ’ is the first part of the album to unfold, its insistent, rotating beat slowly morphs into an avalanche of shimmering cymbals, before a plateau of echoed rim shots cools all to the core. Throughout, Brown’s wordless singing tethers the song to its atmosphere, an effect similarly employed to perfection in ‘Disco’ which follows. ‘Signal’ unfurls as an odyssey of rhythm, it’s tumbling beat, punctuated by shivers of hi-hat bluster and mesmeric tom fills. “Put your ear to the ground, it’s an incredible sound” confesses Brown in her most telling lyric from the album, leaving you convinced that Rattle are somehow channeling all this music from a quiet, elemental other-place. ‘The Rocks’ concludes the record with sparse assurance, it’s an exercise in magnified scope and altered states. Wrigley and Brown divide duties across all these tracks, with the cadenced, dynamic shifts of hi-hat and cymbal being Theresa’s domain, whilst Katharine holds down the toms and snare. Brown notes that “each song can be seen as representing a different drum in my set up”. ‘DJ’ is an exploration of her snare, whilst ‘Disco’, ‘Signal’ and ‘The Rocks’ are based around the floor tom, rack tom, and bass drum respectively. All of this is complemented further through the production interventions of Mark Spivey, who wanted to capture Rattle’s huge live sound on tape for this album with all its incurred dub-delay trippiness, taming and melding.
‘Sequence’ is a liminal album, thoughtfully crafted with themes of transition and realisation at its heart. It feels like a trance or ritual if you give yourself to the recording. It urges you to step outside and listen deeper. Rattle are seeking out a vivid array, an order from the noise, a pattern that unlocks the next. This album is the nurturing of intention and when we walk to its beat we arrive anew. ‘Sequence’ will be released on November 2nd by Upset The Rhythm on LP, CD and digitally.