Mother Night. 5.5.18. Newcastle o2 Academy.


One man musical force, Mother Night, has been building up a strong reputation for experimental dance already in 2018 and feels like an appropriate addition to the Meet the North bill.

Blending dark hip hop beats with a claustrophobic trip-hop feel, Night’s music feels like an attempt to be both popular and unpopular with everyone at the same time – an interesting technique in it’s musical structure of pulling you in, yet making you feel nervous to fully immerse yourself in what can often see like a dark world.

Opener ‘Time’ plays with a dub-heavy, dark, structure which is intentionally distant and remote.  Underpinned by a gentle hip-hop groove, the track is sung in a slurred, wistful, almost ‘Spiritualized’ style.   Narratively focused on wanting to spend time with someone or something which has become an obsession, Time gently plays with the themes of addiction and the darker sides of life.  As a performance piece it is deeply affecting and a close relative of the ‘is it real, or is it fabricated’ literary-heavy pieces by Lou Reed.  In this sense, spending time with something has never felt as scary.

The remainder of the set is equally as interesting.  Stand out track ‘Lovers’ sees Mother pick up the pace and centre the tracks musical structure around a falsetto voice and a strong dub bass.  Feeling like a mash-up of Outkast and Prince, this is dance/pop at it’s most interesting.

Closers ‘Medicine’ ‘The fog’ and ‘Not ourselves’ end the set in fine style.  Collectively all focused on the darker sides of the human condition, all are driven by strong danceable grooves which are placed on top of indie sounding structures.  Both in sound and feel, these pieces could be placed alongside the Julian Casablancas solo debut album; strong electronic foundations, punchy bass lines and a remote, almost not there, vocal line.

Mother Night has created a very heavy, strongly literate, Irvine Welsh styled, body of art.  Both in terms of it’s performance, delivery and well thought through concept, this should be a hit with those who like their music to be interesting, challenging and accessible.  Great stuff.

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