The initial oncoming of Warganization's "Like A Nightmare" is reminiscent of an old school vinyl single auctioned exclusively at indie record downsizing sales—and the song itself sounds proudly fazed out and hazy by unspecified and unintelligible whispers that twinkle across the expanse of this single. Backed by a twinkling of keys and hopping bassline Jack Morrison's two-tone reverberated echos wail at the head of this track. Here, he reintroduces himself with an enigmatic cascade of intimately close backup vocals that expand the mix's width. The accompanying video is like watching the band conjoin in performance over their isolated room's webcam on a teched-out VCR cassette tape malfunction as it morphs into some version of our nightmares most psychedelic functioning. It looks like it was made under the confines of quarantine, and the creativity involved in the production and sonics surrounding this single are equivalently mesmerizing. Still, it can be challenging to connect Warganization's sound to the concept of one genre as this ethereal amalgamation blazons into it's disassociating transitional sections.
"Like A Nightmare" pulls your ear to one corner with oscillating synths and to the other with distorting breakbeat drums, while the static of the purple-hued video is always shifting in your peripherals. The mix flourishes sonically with an echoing croon or synth solo from Outerspace and after, saturated belts of Jack Morrison himself reveal the further tastings to copulate. It's a dense spiral of synths, collaborating breakbeats, and soaring vocal flights. A highlight here is Morrison's voice—nimble and eloquent—able to convey authentic, mesmerizing sensations, which is nonetheless surrounded by a shapeshifting wall of sound. "It's like a nightmare that you can't wake up from," Morrison expells in the chorus, discharging deftly between saturation and distorted crescendos as if over a vintage Neve pre-amp. The darkness surrounding the visuals captures the psychedelic and empyreal tactility of the music here exceedingly well.
Discover "Like A Nightmare" here.
What's the story behind this collaboration? How did you manage to create such a fitting visual to this mesmeric venture of a song?
I thought it'd be cool to have a sort of multi-cam performance video with the "players" being in different locations & situations, with a dead man holding the TV as the entire video played. When we actually set up for the "dead man" shoot, it seemed better to just have it sitting by him with the subtle implication this was all filmed in the past & the dead guy was one of the players in the vid (or all of them.) I don't really do too well with any sort of story-driven music videos so any elements like that are almost always just going to be subtle "hints." The whole thing was filmed by me & frequent Warg collaborator Katy Scherer
There's a reminiscent character to some of the early '90s in your sound, would you say you are influenced by any specific periods in the music industry or notable self-declared "Idols" in your mind?
Not really, I'm drawn to a lot of the overtly-energetic stuff of the 90s which doesn't seem to crop up all that much anymore. I've been having a serious resurgence of listening to a lot of the classic Warp Records stuff: Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada. Most things I hear now, mainstream or otherwise, are very "syrupy," atmospheric, slow. And I like that stuff, but I also love stuff from the past that really just went over the top with broken breakbeats, eerie atmospheres, & just a general disdain or disregard for whoever was going to like or listen to it. A lot of what I hear today just sounds extremely pandering and "Hollywood-ready," though on the plus side that makes it even more rewarding to hear the stuff that does actually manage to be raw & honest.
It sounds like you put a lot of effort into making this mix as dynamic and shapeshifting as possible, but what do you think makes Like A Nightmare most interpretive and profound to you?
I don't think too much about what I'm about to do, it just happens and sometimes I don't even remember producing it - Like a Nightmare is one of those tracks. I only vaguely remember making it, and yet here it is existing in full. I do remember going in spontaneously for the vocals, nothing is written or demoed, and just recording the whole thing minus the spoken bridge section. That bridge section is the thing I most clearly remember since it was the last part I did for the song & for a while I really didn't know what was going to go there. I'd toyed with the idea of trying to find the perfect old horror-movie vocal sample or something but ultimately I ended up just coming up with a spoken part of my own that actually came straight from a dream (well, nightmare) I'd had the night before.
Are there more offerings similar to this one on the up and coming Record, Mazda Music? Or can we expect a journey into more novel and undiscovered territories?
Well, sort of. The atmosphere is definitely there throughout the album, though there's not really another full-on "drill & bass" tune on there - I could definitely see myself going more into that kind of stuff on the next record. Mazda's more of a hip-hop-infused thing though, with a couple of diversions that still maintain the sort of B-movie horror vibe I wanted for this one. The Like a Nightmare EP, which is essentially an extended single, will definitely scratch that itch in the meantime though.
What has been keeping you inspired this year?
The quarantine has actually been sort of motivational in itself since it largely took away the crutch of going out and seeing or playing music rather than really working on my own stuff in isolation as is sometimes the necessary ingredient to getting something done. A lot of the songs I was writing, months before any of this happened, had themes of isolation, paranoia & fear anyway and everything going on right now has only amplified those characteristics, so it's a bit of a - for lack of better term - happy coincidence I'll be releasing this in the midst of it.