top of page
  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

NAGLE & HOWARD: The Species Gap (2021)

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

We dance like we think on structures that take us beyond surprises

1 RR173H 8:04

2 moments_in_methane 5:49

3 encounter 7:18

4 deep & weird 4:37

5 critters! 3:54

6 exotic_enzymes 6:06

7 the_zap 8:47

8 cloud_harvest 6:01

9 dilemma & resolution 5:20

10 the_species_gap 7:01

11 an_ending 3:54

(CD/DDL 66:57) (V.F.)

(EM on Buzz)

The electronic stutterings responsible for the opening of RR173H get tangled up in a kind of stationary Funk with a psychedelic-organic vision. The chirps of the twirling chords get sticking to a bass-pulsing line, giving a rubbery vitality to the first two minutes of this track that introduces us to SPECIES GAP. Minimalist and knotted around keen oscillations, the rhythm invites percussions and the tssitt-tssitt of cymbals to redirect it towards a fusion between electronic rock (E-Rock) and electronic dance music (EDM) always decorated with its psychedelic Funk finery. RR173H sets the tone for a new album by Paul Nagle inspired by another short story from Matt Howard, the same one that inspired David Wright's beautiful album The Lost Colony. Both artists have a very particular style that often defies the limits of imagination. We look at the cover of this new album produced by Groove nl and we immediately understand in which universe our ears will dip the tip of the lobe. Available in manufactured CD and in download, each option gives right to this short novelty in PDF format. The music follows the originality of Paul Nagle's journey. We can find those atmospheres of Binar and those more psychedelic of his albums following this period and finally good vintage Berlin School. We dance like we think on structures that take us beyond the surprises that are numerous. First of all, we hear the album on the tip of our ears and finally we accept to be drowned in it as soon as critters! bites our eardrums. Audacious, complex and captivating as everything that Paul Nagle does since The Soft Room in 1981.

Long lassos effects twirling with radioactive particles set the table at moments_in_methane. The opening ambiences remind me of a video game, genre Metroid, where our ears become sensors in order to detect an organism in this hubbub of lines, waves, voices and layers of synthesizers with colourful colors and tones. A synth line comes out to roll in loops in this decor feasting from now on now on an organ. A lot of colors and a lot of ambiences in a sound magma that can easily make a link with its title. Encounter also proposes an opening hypothecated by a wall of elements of ambiences as intense, but more tenebrous, than the previous title. The first stroke of genius of Paul Nagle is however in this title which elaborates a fascinating structure of rhythm with an element which sounds like the yapping of a dog crossed with the squeaking of a duck. This element emerges from a cabalistic opening where the sounds has never been so close to being mistaken for a mass of cyborg moans in agony. The percussions come out after a muffled tonal explosion that occurs between the 2nd and 3rd minute. And little by little, Encounter comes alive with a mechanical rhythm, crossed between these percussions and the barking, in a sound fauna that tests our patience. But it goes a bit better, from listening to listening... Mechanical rumblings in a soundscape full of white noises and reverberating effects, deep & weird is just passing by while being consistent with its title! With scary movie ambiences, it is with critters! that the spirits start to heat up. This great track bursts with a bouncing rhythm, like the movement of Chris Franke's sequencer in Flashpoint, in symbiosis with seductive metallic slamming. Even the synth pads and haze layers have that Tangerine Dream's sounds.

This superb track is followed by another long sonic wreck in exotic_enzymes, a long track of molten metal ambiences whose two minutes make our ears bleed. Afterwards, the track takes advantage of a relative calm in order to elaborate a sound texture of which certain elements have also furnished RR173H. If we found critters! too short, the_zap will be able to make forgive the Nagle-Howard tandem with a superb structure of vintage Berlin School mired in a vision of psychedelic zombies. A good mellotron crashes into another boisterous, colourful opening. The rhythm structure kicks in at the cusp of the 3rd minute with the sequencer making hopping its rhythm line into fascinating Arabian melodies. Misty Middle Eastern orchestrations envelop this minimalist movement dipped in a rubbery resin and whose sonic incense is made of a delicious psychedelic-organic fauna. Excellent! It is in a tropical forest setting that appears the very good downtempo of cloud_harvest. The rhythm structure accelerates slightly the pace on good and rich synth layers. We can also hear tribal percussions as well as keyboard riffs enriching this delicious texture of creative EM. dilemma & resolution proposes a much more meditative ambient landscape here with a beautiful mellotron. Same with the orchestrations that fill the first two minutes of the title-track. Orchestrations to make a rock cry up until a good bouncing rhythm structure takes root a few seconds after its 2nd minute. Thereafter, the_species_gap develops into an amazing rhythmic texture fueled by electronic percussions, organic percussive elements, percussion bursts and various bottle tinkling without forgetting the caricatured gurgling phases. A very good, intense and amazing creative moment that is worth the purchase of SPECIES GAP in my opinion. missed_opportunities, or an_ending, ends this fascinating album of Paul Nagle and Matt Howard on a meditative phase where the mellotron, the mists and the electronic ambiances are wiser here than elsewhere in SPECIES GAP.

Sylvain Lupari (December 13th, 2021) ***¾**

Available at Groove nl

643 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page