“The sounds that most interest me are the ones that have some sort of depth, or sounds that have ‘the spook.’”
– Nate Young, 2011
“I know how to write good… songs and music theory has done nothing but make the process more efficient.”
– Nate Young, 2013
Taken together, the above quotes pretty accurately define Nate Young’s musical output throughout the last few years. As Young’s career has progressed, it’s become clear that capturing “the spook” has been a major guiding force behind all of his projects. It’s undeniable that the common thread between the aesthetics of Young’s seminal work with Wolf Eyes, his lo-fi blues deconstructions with Stare Case, and the synth ooze of his Regression experiments is the underlying layer of delightful creepiness that he manages to create in each context.
But other major elements that have gained increased importance in Young’s work is form and structure. He’s mentioned this on various occasions, and the classification of his work as “songs” in the latter quote shows that Young’s records are truly “composed” works as opposed to the free improvisation that often dominates the noise world. This attention to structure is quite possibly one of the reasons that all of Young’s various projects have set critical high water marks recently. By finding ways to understand and control “the spook” in various mediums, Young has managed to create a distinctive voice that cuts through regardless of genre and/or production.
It should therefore be no surprise that Blinding Confusion, his upcoming Regression LP for NNA Tapes, is another excellent formal study of “the spook.” As a matter of fact, Blinding Confusion manages to pace and structure Young’s minimal materials so well that it may be his best Regression material to date. Take the excellent “When Nothing Works,” for example. It’s full of Young’s beloved spook but can be divided into a clear A and B section (nearly like a singular verse/chorus), with Young subtly shifting the hierarchy of his sonic materials throughout. In this sense, Young’s composition is near classical in nature, but the resulting sounds are pure overtone-drenched synth spook.