In Waves: What Is Neffle? (Guest post by Tom Pritchard)

Posted on Posted in Geekery, Music, Neffle, Tom Pritchard

What is Neffle? In a nutshell, Neffle is a collaborative project created by myself (Tom Pritchard) and my good friend Adam Fielding. We met on the now defunct Propellerhead forums, way back in 2003, and got to know each other through our shared love of electronic music. Over the years we’d collaborate sporadically on the odd track here and there, typically exchanging Reason files back and forth, working remotely.

Neffle’s humble acid-jam beginnings

One weekend in 2011, Adam happened to be visiting shortly after I’d acquired a pair of Korg Monotribes. If you’re unfamiliar with the Monotribe, it’s a small analogue groovebox that’s great for making squelchy acid techno sounds – a particularly hands-on machine that’s perfect for spontaneous jams. Working together with the Monotribes and an MFB-503 drum machine, we spent a solid afternoon banging out tunes for a laugh (one of which, Cellphone Acid, is included as a secret bonus track with the download of Brain Tub). It was great fun to work together in the studio, so we decided to do the same thing again the next year, and in 2012 recorded a mix on to cassette (MONO Side B, another secret track, this time hidden on the download for Futility Son). These recordings have a certain charm, despite their crude quality, and so we figured perhaps it was time to embark upon a more concerted effort.

The first two albums, Brain Tub & Futility Son, were recorded back to back in a week-long recording session in June 2014. We’d start with a simple idea, maybe a bass line or a drum rhythm, and build on to it bit by bit, arranging the parts on the fly as we recorded. Despite working amidst the mild warmth of the English Summer, these tracks took on a decidedly bleak tone, filled with brooding keys and cavernous reverb, in part owing to the constraints of the equipment we were using, a limited palette of small desktop synths and drum machines. Given the Wintery vibe, we released these tracks in October that year – and so Neffle was born! We returned to these ideas again in the second half of 2015, recording late into the night to produce a set of nocturnal, ambient techno tracks, released as Assistance in early 2016. The Soul Anatomy EP followed later that year, an eerie beast with a deeply sinister tone.

Unfortunately, the Soul Anatomy sessions made for challenging recording: despite our best intentions, it felt as though none of the material we worked on would sit well together. The result is an EP with a distinctly loose, improvisational sound, to put it lightly. When it came to recording The Third Space, we took a different approach, working on material separately before coming together to flesh it out – a method that allowed us to work greater structure and depth into the music without losing the spontaneity of recording in jam sessions. The Third Space felt like a significant step forward for Neffle, an evocative lofi exploration of haunting, melancholy spaces. In the space of six years, our work had grown from sporadic improvised recordings into a coherent project with vivid intention.

Building on the foundations laid for The Third Space, we approached our 2019 recording sessions with an intense focus, resulting in an album that is considerably more refined and detailed than our prior efforts. After five releases of spartan, melancholy music, it felt like the right time to change things up a little. In Waves maintains the enveloping textures that characterise our previous work, but shifts the tone to a warm, psychedelic sound, with rich instrumentation and natural recordings layered in dense soundscapes. If The Third Space sounds like abandoned places and swirling fog, In Waves is the sound of warm evenings and fading sun, that ethereal, liminal atmosphere between light and darkness.

In Waves is available to pre-order now – pre-orders will gain immediate access to two tracks from the album. In Waves will be available to download in the format of your choice as a pay-what-you-want release on the 17th May via the Neffle Bandcamp page, and will also be available to stream & download from a wide variety of digital distribution outlets.

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