The Regression of Nate Young

Regression Volumes 1, 2 & 3 by Nate Young

The past week or so has been a rather trying time due to various reasons. My recovery from flu has been painfully slow and not helped much by the freezing weather or a frustratingly heavy workload. Still, I always ensure that I schedule at least a few hours of music into each day as a means to fully unwind. I think that maybe the solitude of home-working, coupled with the recent snowfall has affected me in peculiar ways however. Recently, I’ve devoted a good portion of my allotted listening time to new acquisitions and the latest additions to my iTunes library but I’ve found myself returning to the eerie dread of Nate Young on more occasions than is probably healthy.

Nate Young is of course a founding member of US noise legends Wolf Eyes, but has also recorded under a variety of different guises in the past. His output under any moniker is always a pleasure to listen to, ever challenging and wilfully unpredictable. Towards the end of last year, I picked up copies of three LPs that he had released under his own name but never really got the chance to give them my full attention. I don’t know why I ended up playlisting these particular releases last week but I’m incredibly glad I did. 

Over the course of these three volumes, Young somehow manages to convey tangible feelings of creeping dread and claustrophobic isolationism perfectly. His machines sound impossibly ancient and probably damaged; synths, oscillators, tape loops, effects – by turns sounding like a dusty library LP or the soundtrack to a late 70s Italian horror flick. The cinematic reference is so explicit at times that some tracks even appear to have foley cues embedded within the tangle of abstract electronics and rhythmic pulsations. 

The overall effect is that of a tightly wound mesh of sounds and textures that seem to mimic the jangled nerves of some paranoid insomniac being blindly pursued by terrors unknown into the unblinking eye of a Stygian night. But then, what do you expect from tracks with titles such as ‘Sweating Sickness’, ‘Dread’ and ‘Sleep Anxiety’? The covers of Volumes 1 and 2 are also wonderful signifiers of the type of sounds contained within;

Nate Young Regression 1

Nate Young Regression 2

It’s strange that at times when I feel a little frayed and on edge, I find the edgiest of records the most soothing. Maybe they are holding up an aural mirror to my soul. The snow has gone now though and I think it’s time to go outside for some fresh air…


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