TUNE Inwards - Bright Serpent
The digital double A-side package, “At Height” / “Bright Serpent”, is the latest new music to emerge from electronic musician Kristian Shelley – AKA Inwards – previewing two more idiosyncratic electronic tracks from his upcoming second album, ‘Bright Serpent’, which is out on 10th April.
This follows the “Tottertot”, “Skateboarding” and “Flowers” singles, which have dropped in recent months showcasing a playful, ambient and sonically rich direction and gaining widespread radio support including Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft on BBC 6Music, to add to spins on BBC Radio 1 from Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart, and John Kennedy on Radio X.
An introspective collection of psychedelic modular synth led experimentations, on ‘Bright Serpent’ electronic textures and rhythms rub up against manipulated recordings of real instruments, voices and field recordings to fashion transportive snapshots of an inner sound-world.
peppered with chopped up vocal samples, “Bright Serpent” is about, in Kristian’s words, “deception, shedding skin, and growth. It also relates to the symbolism for medicine & healing – I was inspired by the imagery of the Rod of Asclepius, from Ancient Greek mythology”.
The ‘Bright Serpent’ album follows Inwards’ 2019 EP ‘'Feelings of Unreality’, which Dummy called “blissful and mesmerizing electronic music”, and 2018 debut album ‘Diesel’, described in Electronic Sound as “a sublime listen” and Clash as “an absorbing document”. Both releases gained widespread airplay on daytime and specialist radio with distinct support from Tom Ravenscroft, Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe, John Kennedy and BBC Introducing – and features including a Guest Mix for Tom Ravenscroft, a live session for BBC Introducing and a BBC 6Music Recommends Track of the Week.
The new album was mostly written and recorded at Kristian’s secluded log cabin in Worcestershire, which he built himself. The cabin is fitted with an array of creative musical and studio equipment, >>>
primarily composed of a personalized modular synth system, where he’s free to make music any time of day, without interruption. Explaining the method behind creating ‘Bright Serpent’, Kristian says:
“I like the textures of real instruments and voices. I used my voice as an instrument on this record more this time, which is something new for me. There are also sounds I recorded years back of different atmospheres, conversations of friends, sounds from a building site. Anything that I could manipulate to add atmosphere.”
These distant recordings may go some way to fit a feeling of nostalgia contained within Kristian’s music. Having studied music production in Brighton he recently returned home to his roots in Worcestershire. This journey back home and the feeling evoked in the album is tangible. He goes on to recount a message after the release of ‘Diesel’: “I had a message from someone telling me that the music gave them a real strong sense of déjà vu, that it transported them back to a time when they were a child and they remembered some interesting memories that they never knew they had.”
A lot of the songs on ‘Bright Serpent’ were born out of pure experimentation; sometimes a song came together in a matter of hours, sometimes much later with the initial intention or inspiration shifting to a new subject. Kristian explains how the process of making music, and also stepping away from it, is like therapy to him.
“I like to communicate without using language as I feel there are some things that can’t be put into words. Doing things outside music is really important too. My mind is all over the place most of the time and meditation has been a big help to tame it. I recently started skateboarding again, swimming and I've started experimenting in the last year with making visual art for my live performances.”