Skip to main content
A Magazine for

The Manchester edition of Now Then is no longer publishing content. Visit the Sheffield edition.

OUt iNK Time and Emotions in the Natural World

Time and Emotions in the Natural World
202 1543403479

Crypto-homophobic rock critic orthodoxy still holds that progressive rock epitomised indulgence and excess, its foppish, keyboard-driven neoclassicism muscled out by punk's power-chord masculinity.

The genre's underground tells a different story. Avant-garde prog acts, like Henry Cow and Robert Wyatt, were rock's true outsiders, opposing not only a gatekeeping and exploitative music industry, but the very foundations of western capitalism and empire. Their music was unabashedly intellectual and complex, beyond even that of prog's standard-bearers.

At its best, OUt iNK's debut album, Time and Emotions in the Natural World, is a studied emulation of these classic rock-in-opposition acts. Complex, tangled grooves teeter and trip over lurching time signatures. Guitar, sax and bass hammer home unusual melodies in insistent unison.

A collage approach to album construction lends the record diversity and personality, with found sound sketches and forays into free improvisation alternately providing Zappaesque toilet humour and dystopian industrial atmosphere.

OUt iNK's intricate, counter-intuitive compositions are the kind that require painstaking rehearsal to pull off, but the band retain a looseness that, combined with a live, pub basement sound quality, anchors their debut in down-to-earth local character.

At times, you do wish it popped with the coil-spring tightness and bold, shiny colour of a Cardiacs record - the chosen recording method sacrifices the fidelity of the individual instruments - but, in 2018, music like this is a precious thing.

Andrew Trayford

Filed under: