Track x Track: V - Faithless

Track x Track: V - Faithless

Boundary-pushing Naarm/Melbourne-based multidisciplinarian takes us through their new album of unique post-industrial compositions

Image credit: Lucinda Eva-May

A longtime favourite of the Berlin and Naarm/Australian underground, Australian producer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and artist V continues to innovate and challenge conventions on their latest full-length album, Faithless.

Coming just months after the 10th anniversary reissue of their debut album No Return back in December, Faithless sees V further hone their sound, taking us into their hypnotic world of atmospheric & electronic post-industrial sounds.

V writes, "This record is a love letter to industrial music. The bells form the spine of this album. It was created in a shed in Brunswick and later refined in Chinatown during the lockdown periods of 2021-22."

To get to know the stories behind each composition on the record, V was kind enough to take us through it track by track - have a listen and get to know below!

I invite the listener to find their own meaning in the work.

A1 The Stain: "The Stain" opens the album with the whirr of the reel-to-reel, which serves as the backbone of the entire record. Arpeggiated bells have been recorded onto the reel-to-reel and further affected with mutable analog delay, sometimes echoing, clashing, and dipping in and out of the "grid" - the digital BPM in which much electronic music is created. The 1960s Keio MiniPops drum machine plays a prominent role in the track, having no MIDI outputs and therefore dipping in and out of the grid. The MiniPops was most famously used by Jean Michel Jarre in his opus Oxygène.

A2 Existence: "Existence" is a dramatic and existential affirmation of life, reflecting the overall tone of the album. All the tracks in this double LP record flow into one another, using a music presentation technique I learned when I played in the grindcore band Batalj. The double LP was pressed at 45rpm, which provides incredible clarity, depth, and detail to the sound, making it ideal for an art noise record with many sonic subtleties.

A3 Slow: The arpeggiated bells from the reel-to-reel, affected with delay, are prominent in this track, alongside the MiniPops drum machine. The bells have a pulsing quality, and the song builds in energy as it progresses, ending with a split into disharmony.

B1 Deep: As the name suggests, this song features layers of deep synth, the Mini Nova. The Mini Nova by Novation is comparable to the Microkorg XL by Korg, which heavily featured in my second album, "So Pure". Both are very affordable digital synths.

B2 Memories / Dreams: One of the most playful songs on the album, "Memories / Dreams" is influenced by Cosey Fanni Tutti and my time playing bass and manipulating vocals in the industrial techno band Permission.

B3 Lux: A luxurious church-like dwelling lies abandoned, covered in dust and spiderwebs.

C1 By Her Grace: "By Her Grace" is a gentle song with background organs that have a church-like and retro-futuristic quality. The title refers to a female deity or God, rejecting the notion that God is a cis-male. The track builds in tension throughout, questioning and expressing deep sadness tempered by curiosity and, finally, acceptance.

C2 333: The longest song on the album, "333" was born from the ashes of "By Her Grace". The track hints at turmoil, a journey yet to be taken.

D1 Toll Keeper: "Toll Keeper" features the tolling of bells and imagines travelling up the river Styx. The song explodes into crowded ascending arpeggiated bells, requesting surrender. A mediaeval bard, dressed in rich silk finery, is prancing in the countryside and suddenly becomes ripped into a rift in time. They are now in a void where time is distorted and warped, up is down, down is up, and a voice pleads for surrender.

D2 Faithless: This record does not rely on lyrics to evoke meaning, except for "Faithless", which follows a more traditional pop structure. This song is about loss and failure, yearning for second chances, feeling disconnected, and ultimately about death. Community care, a concept brought by the inclusion of the choir, was an unexpected layer of meaning, beautiful and poignant when mourning a dear friend. The 11 member choir was arranged and directed by Angel Connolly of Hunny Machete and Habits, and includes notable figures from Narrm’s underground music scene.

V - March, 2023

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