Fin de siecle












By the end of the summer some people were still wearing their masks, but a callousness had grown throughout the city.
The city had changed of course, fewer people and with less desire to go walking round the city center in its desultory form, every day had become Sunday.
I ended my relationship about this time too, just after returning from the alps and seeing Sebastian. And that was about the time the summer gave way. 

 

The Jazz Age


 The Jazz Age is released today. 

Fresh off of the release of recent single Slum Lord, Mount Pleasant has confirmed that their latest album ‘The Jazz Age’ will be out on 6th March.

“Dissonance is the undercurrent that runs through everything,” Jonathan Phillips says of the new album. "We live in strange times and this discordance and violence we live in sets a diffident contrast to the passivity of lockdown. This album was a long time in gestation and holds with in it the promise of the future, like the title. Something promising and unbridled."

Check out ‘Slum Lord’ and the full LP track list below.

‘Seek Shelter’ Tracklisting:
1. Slum Lord
2. Summer Cut
3. Holy Week
4. Night Time
5. Caesar
6. A Crash Again
7. Strange Lights
8. Hochseilgarten
9. Always Wanna Be Right By You
10. Evening Light

www.mountpleasant.bandcamp.com


Slum Lord



At the end of my time in Berlin, I moved to London. I wanted the solidity of stock brick and of fenced-off garden squares, rather than heading home to New Zealand - low slung wooden suburbs, harsh light. I had my fill of the dark blue sky and grey sludge underfoot, the high ceilings and threadbare apartments of Berlin. I wanted many things in London and I wanted to finish the album I had been writing in Berlin as we moved around the unstable housing options for foreigners in the GroƟstadt. Over the years since leaving, my images of these interiors have become confused. Like a photo album, with certain photographs removed. A blue wall, flat pack furniture, living in the apartments of faceless young Germans leaving for three months for South America; ritual, process, an education. As is, I ended up deeply suburban in a Georgian estate in West London and in some sort of indecisive limbo. The present tense felt confused. The past melancholic.




As it was with the making of this album, each song took much longer than really necessary. I think I avoided it, I felt bad for my producer Sebastian who I started sending songs to two years ago to start putting it into something more manageable. He went through and quantised and reworked bass lines and was a saint. If you ever need someone to work through your messy incomplete recordings I can highly recommend Sebastian. The length of the process of making the album prevented me from having to release the album. It allowed me time to rework songs, the album as palimpsest.

The video for Slum Lord took about a year to make. Not that I spent the whole year making it. Slum Lord is a single from the album we finished together “The Jazz Age”. The song is not a jazz song, I don’t think I have the musicality or theory for an album that could really encapsulate the concept. It has nothing to do with Jazz, which I have a lot of time for as a genre, and as a nominative period. As Sebastian sat in Berlin labouring over the production after I laboured or did not labour, just sort of sat listening to mixes and tried to perfect a song about the moon that never made it onto the record, and then re-recording over tracks for the album for two years. Sebastian  is a saint. 


The “Slum Lord” song was written from a remix I made or that survived from 2006, in the golden age. I think that this vague acquaintance Giles or maybe Miles or something like that sent me a track and I don’t think I did anything with it but it sort of sat there. Anyway, I found the track on a hard drive and constructed a song above it. It was sent the same year that this photo was taken. I think this photo is from 2006, have no recollection of where this picture is from, obviously Christchurch. In the same way, the memory of where this track actually comes from is difficult to recall. This lack of resolution of the past, or clarity is I guess what I was trying to solve when writing my songs for this album. The picture is all grainy and poor resolution, and not intentionally like the .bmp picture below that was digitally altered to make it look like a photograph from 1996. I got tired of a pure design aesthetic for the album. I got tired of many things, not just the album during this year. 


 




For me, the most important feature is the synths. Ideally I wanted a triumphal bold synth led song like Gary Numan “Cars” or Roxy Music “Street Life”. The imagery for the video doesn’t follow a narrative and I am sorry for this. I have stopped reading fiction during the lockdown, apart from Anna Karenina in a uneven translation as an audio book which I can recommend, probably more than my album. Everything on this song is synthetic apart from the vocals, which are still murky, especially the murky part after the chorus where I wanted it all to dissipate. There are lyrics there, but the meaning is gone. Anyway, it is a big single and it is a triumph. Roman triumphal procession.



 

 


My new album will be released soon, it has been a while in gestation. My friend Sebastian produced and mastered the album in Berlin as he was in lockdown and I was in lockdown in palatial elegance in London. Album is called The Jazz Age, as in the promise of the future. A glistening promised future.

Christmas






Last year in the shadow of Christmas Tobias and I did not complete a Christmas single. This was not a mistake, maybe not every year will be a Christmas single year. Christmas came for me that year in the form of my Grandmother checking if I wanted a cup of tea. Which I did. She made a proper Christmas dinner and then we proceeded to watch the entirety of the news programming as is my grandparents custom. I went and trimmed the hedges. As this year my parents have come, there will be no back to back BBC to Sky News broadcasts of varying shades of the same news stories. Instead we will be in some grand manor which is how I prefer to think of myself at Christmas.

The same sense of palatial, Jacobean grandeur has been applied to this year's Christmas singles. Listen now at mountpleasant.bandcamp.com