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FACES by Chloe Rodgers
I have to admit, I’m quite late to boarding the Chloe Rodgers hype train.
For this, I ask forgiveness from the Nottingham Music Scene Gods for her music, so far, is something to behold.
Something sacred, perhaps.
There is something about the powerfully delicate atmospheric soundscapes of her compositions that cover the listener entirely in a thin veil of linen or in an aura of sweet, lilac tenderness.
It’s funny that, as I wrote that sentence at 16:51pm, the autumnal sun outside my basement flat window has almost set, applying in its wake the most gentle lilac tint to the late afternoon sky.
Maybe, just maybe … the gods are in on this.
The Nottingham Music Scene Gods, that is.
Why am I formatting this review like some kind of a low-brow haiku? Well, maybe it’s because ‘Faces’, her second single to be officially released, demands it of me.
The song demands for the listener to rest and be one with it, to take it in with as many of the senses as possible.
It asks you to consider the connection that you have with the totality of the universe that you belong to, that you are not separate from. A gentle, all too gentle reminder that you are not just one individual entity scuttling around from one task to the next, one paycheck to the next.
You are here, among everything and at one with everything.
And all that’s before I’ve even listened to the lyrics properly!
The sun has set over here now. I’m alone in my flat, listening to the track again on my headphones. Usually, I might be feeling sad by now. Especially when listening to music like Chloe’s but, counterintuitively perhaps, it’s providing a Scandinavian, Hygge-like warmth to my evening.
A hot cup of cocoa to my northern lights.
An appreciation of the cold, the dark and the loneliness that only comes from experience, from growing accustomed to it and embracing it.
From what I can tell, Chloe Rodgers has been through it, become one with it and is now expressing it in a way that is warm and smoothly captivating.
Like an esoteric chocolate fondant.
I love music that appeals to the mind as well as the body.
Chloe’s music appeals to the soul.
And it’s beautiful.
Review by Liam MacGregor-Hastie
SLOW by Jonny Olley
Wow. I’m going to start this one with a wow.
So you know it’s going to be good. Make no mistake about this folks, this is a 2020 Nottingham Anthem! Everyone in the greater Nottinghamshire region and beyond needs to hear this track and take note of the name.
I’ve lived in the city for seven years, give or take, and I have an idea of what its general character and personality is like. Notts is raw, Notts is loud and Notts is often crude but, when the lights go out and it very reluctantly goes to bed, left to its own thoughts, Notts comes to terms with its own dysfunctionality and its fear.
I call Jonny Olley’s ‘Slow’ a 2020 Nottingham Anthem because it captures a meaty bite of this feeling of worry and dread that we feel so strongly and yet we choose to ignore for another day. The wisdom that tells us that things shouldn’t be this way but that it’s too inconvenient to confront. Whether it’s the monotony, the fake virtue signalling and IG-filter ‘progress’ that we’re so desperate to display or the selective blindness towards those who so obviously need our help the most.
Jonny’s debut single, which shows all of the artist’s maturity and many years on the circuit, is a hard pill to swallow but – just like the one mentioned in the chorus – one that can provide comfort and warmth. At least for a moment, we can take rest in knowing that we are
not alone in this dread and unease. It is the elephant in the room or, perhaps, the room itself. Certainly now, in late 2020 more than ever.
Nottingham, in all of its ‘in-your-faceness’ is, at heart, a city of vulnerability. Speak to any stranger in a Lace Market smoking area, at a Lenton tram stop, a Sneinton market stall, a Clifton library or a Forest Fields house party and it won’t be long before they tell you their story, their struggles and their strengths. The people here are confident and open, especially when
it comes to their vulnerabilities.
I almost teared up when Olley mentions legendary artist, personality and now, unfortunately, homeless busker Wycliffe in the second verse. A person who every Nottingham resident knows and a truly tragic figure that embodies the heights and depths that one can reach in these modern times. This and references to Forest Recreational Ground as well as “going west” are nods to the midlanders who have lived in these streets and known its lurid temptations.
In other words, this song has helped resurface many emotions and memories of this city that I have lived and loved in for many years. I no longer live there but now I want to go back.
Jonny is a pure testament to its bubbling and sometimes overflowing quantity and quality of raw and creative brilliance.
Of course, the lyrics are not exclusively relatable to Notts people. They are especially relatable to those who are struggling, feeling isolated and noticing a void of meaning as well as too much distance between themselves and a life that matters.
I have to give a nod to the crisp and profoundly atmospheric production quality of the track and the instrumentation which gives just the right amount of backing emotion to the lyrics.
Jake Bugg can fuck off now, quite frankly. This is much better.
Review by Liam MacGregor-Hastie
One for the album……
GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Dirt Royal!