The 5th full-length studio album from Chicane (producer/songwriter Nick Bracegirdle) sees one of the 21st century’s most imaginative sound designers deliver his new, 12-strong track collection. Stylistically the music on ‘Thousand Mile Stare’ ranges canyon deep and valley wide, incorporating themes from a wide scope of dance music. The man who brought you the chilled quintessence of ‘Offshore, the cultivated trance of ‘Saltwater’, the chart conquering ‘Don’t Give Up’ and the super-infectious ‘Poppiholla’ is about to deliver again.
(Forthcoming thru Modena Records, full release June 4th, 2012)
“This is music I made whilst consciously trying to disengage from electronic dance music’s genre/sub-genre loop. It’s a call-it-what-you-want/it-is-what-it-is, maximum latitude album. No matter what I do though, whatever style I produce in, it’s always going to have that Chicane sound, feel and vibe to it.”
– Nick Bracegirdle, somewhere up the mountain, Jan 2012
Since establishing himself in 1997 with the seminal ‘Far From The Maddening Crowds’ & breakout album ‘Behind The Sun’ (2000), through to his second-gen LPs; ‘Somersault’ (2007) and 2010’s ‘Giants’, Nick Bracegirdle has fashioned a flawless and hit-filled album discography. Now, adding to that canon comes ‘Thousand Mile Stare’. Only effectively classifiable as ‘electronic dance music’, it’s a freethinking, without-borders audio collection from the Buckinghamshire lad made good.
‘Thousand Mile’ overtures with the near beat-free splendor of ‘Hljóp’ – the first of two tracks composed alongside eclectic Icelandic five-piece Vigri. Having decamped to the ensemble’s Reykjavik studio, he co-produced with their unique ‘micro-orchestra’ set-up, bridging the gap between live and synthesized music. These sessions saw the creation of ‘Hijóp’, with its poignant piano-shaded riffs, Icelandic-ally filtered, Coldplay-esque vocals and Vigri’s live orchestra elements. Whilst over there, Nick and the collective also recorded current single Sólarupprás (or ‘Sunrise’), whose 4/4 drums, judiciously distorted sub-synths and symphonic nuance give a more floor-oriented dimension on their music.
When it comes to its vocal aspects, the album opts for the path less travelled. Over his career, Nick’s pointed many a mainstream singer – Bryan Adams, Sir Tom Jones and Marie Brennan among them – in the direction of the dancefloor. For ‘Thousand Mile’ though, he’s mining newer talent. With his evocative vocals, Malta-born, Brixton-based singer Joseph Aquilina lends raincry-like tones to the downtempo ‘Goldfish’ and ‘Super Mouflon’, which charts an electro-to-house arc.
“I wanted to create an album that felt like ‘a collection of life’s soundtracks’.”
At once narrating and distilling the regulation English 2-week-summer-holiday-abroad, recent single ‘Going Deep’ is primed by the crowd-activating chant of South London rapper Aggi Dukes. His lyrical chant cocks a knowing wink at the Balearic-bound holiday experience, while Nick points the production at the heart of the dancefloor. With its thermally rising trance-fired organ notes, ‘Going Deep’ will be working more than a few tent pegs loose come festival season.
Infused with seaside atmosphere, ‘Flotsam and Jetsum’ (co-produced with Bedrock’s Nick Muir) and ‘The Nothing Song’ momentarily put the album on a melodic, progressive footing. The title track meanwhile sees Nick re-connect with the Balearic trance sound and will doubtless soundtrack many a White Isle adventure come summer.
Naturally, no Chicane album would be complete without fulfilling its quota of beat-less, blissed-out epic-ness. In its search for the ultimate chill, ‘Thousand Mile Stare’ sees Nick rise to new heights in sun-touching tracks. Through numbers like ‘Playing Fields’ (hauntingly and compellingly vocalled by Kate Walsh) to the heaven-sent harmonies and cinematic ambience of album dénouement, ‘Fin de Jours’, it will goose the flesh of sunset-devotees everywhere. Nick notably is also modifying the genre he played a major part in creating. ‘Windbreaks’ builds slowly from an ambient start point, before traversing dynamically into drum & bass.
Throughout the summer, from the speakers of Café del Mar to the plains of the world’s outdoor festivals, Chicane’s ‘Thousand Mile Stare’ will sound out. Following its limited advance world release on April 16th 2012, it will receive a full deluxe edition (including 5 new unreleased tracks), which arrives on shop shelves on the 4th of June.
01: Hljóp (Chicane & Vigri)
02: The Nothing Song
04: Thousand Mile Stare (Original Mix)
05: Playing Fields (Featuring Kate Walsh)
06: Sólarupprás (Chicane & Vigri)
07: Going Deep (Moogmonkey Rework Mix)
09: Flotsum and Jetsum
10: Super Mouflon
11: Going Deep (Original Mix)
12: Fin de Jours
This post originally appeared on Electronic Nightlife, now a part of beatcue.