No Heart’s A Wasteland
THE STORY BEHIND THE ALBUM by David Goo
So what happened was, William Nein, the hero of our story, had left for Berlin. Before he went away he left me a couple of CDs. The CDs were a compilation of songs he had recorded over the last few years in different locations, with various people and equipment. He told me before he left, ‘I’m thinking of mastering these one day properly and making a proper album out of it.’ I think my response was either a shrug or something like, ‘Yeah, that would be cool.’
I’ve known William for years, and like most musicians who do music that I enjoy, he’s completely fucked up as a person, hasn’t a clue how to suck up and kiss ass to society en large, has a massive heart and invests said massive heart in all his creations. (I do wish these guys would learn how to kiss an ass or two once in a while - maybe then we might have something we could be proud of in the charts rather than the dirge we have to put up with now. But, whatever).
I must admit, it took me a while getting round to putting his CDs on my player, because there’s nothing scarier than listening to a friend’s work, right? Nevertheless, I put it on eventually because I knew I’d have to talk to him again one day and the subject would come up and I didn’t want to lie and say I heard it when I hadn’t.
So like all those movies where a big revelatory-moment comes along, as I was listening to his music (imagine the video camera slowly zooming in on my enlightened face), an idea… slowly… started… forming…in my head. Out of the thirty odd songs I listened to, there were about twelve that, although recorded in somewhat lo-fi circumstances, captured something magical. They worked. They didn’t need anything added, they didn’t need re-recording, over-producing, scrubbing and over-polishing until all the life was taken out of them. They said all that the piece had to say. And they had balls; big fat hairy balls that one rarely hears from men with acoustic guitars nowadays. I thought, ‘There’s an album here. Right here, take the best out of the thirty odd songs he’s shown me, and you’ve got something. Something special. It will never get into any soulless chart, it might even take years before our society gets it, but it’s art, and its lovely, and the world needs to hear it.’
Yes. I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s art. I couldn’t tell you why. A bit like love; you don’t know what it is until you experience it. Same goes with this - I don’t know why it is art but it just is. Maybe because it’s so personable whilst being completely communicative. Maybe because… well, I don’t know. And please believe me when I say this, whilst being art, it is not arty, and definitely not arty-farty, it is in fact entertaining as hell.
And so I picked the songs I thought worked as they were recorded, I put them in an order that I thought worked, I listened to them every day for about a week, constantly thinking, ‘This is a fucking album.’
Remembering what he said about his wish to one day get it mastered, I decided I would take matters into my own hands and get it done. I didn’t know how exactly, but then I figured, well, it doesn’t have to be just me who makes it happen.
Thus, with a little help from some friends who knew William, who liked William, who had tolerated this son of a bitch throughout the years, we got together the funds to get it mastered. It was beautiful. It was people power, and it was exhilarating. It started making me think all albums should be done this way. And they probably will be soon – I mean, hey, the music industry may be dying on its ass, but music industry will be around forever – at least while people still have ears and the capacity to enjoy waves flying invisibly through the air.
Over to you.
Take a risk - like you might have done in the old days, before you could sample everything freely on the web. I’m recommending this album to you. It’s different, it’s recognizable, it’s eclectic and fun and interesting and moving. Don’t listen to it online beforehand, buy it like you would have done ten years ago when you saw an album that looked interesting and your friend told you it was good (that’s me, I’m that friend). Let it grow on you. You see, his voice hasn’t been pitched by a computer; he’s not tailored his work to suit any lowest common denominator. Its raw and bloody and dirty and pure, my friends.
Take a risk.
PS. The money that you use to buy this album will then go into funding William Nein’s Second Album, so in a completely direct way, you’ll be making a new album happen. If you don’t think that’s a nice thing, you may need another holiday.
released January 21, 2012
Glen Strachan - Vocal & Recorders on Alex Chen; Piano & Backing Vocals on Alistair
Nena Zinovieff - Drums & Backing Vocals on Alison Rose
Guida Maymo Camps - Flute on Victoria‘s Roof
All songs written and recorded by William Nein
except Alex Chen - written by William Nein/Glen Strachan
Alistair, Victoria‘s Roof and Alex Chen recorded by Glen Strachan
Alison Rose recorded by Oliver Price
Special thanks to Anna Thomson, Stuart Barter, Oliver Price,
Stef Butler, Roxy Rawson, Miss Jo Williams + Marc Tomkins,
and the Giles family
Artwork & design - Lisa Wilkens – newillustration.co.uk
Mastered by Gwyn Mathias
Produced by David Goo