nick nicely recently came back to the music world following a two decade hiatus long after seeing some success in the 80s; following his sophomore release Space Of A Second in 2014, a series of singles have been released from the album and “London South” is the last of the lot, finding itself accompanied by remixes by both Grasscuts and, as we see today, my new favourite Drone artist Abul Mogard.
The original piece is an eclectic 4 minutes of hypnagogic pop strangeness, its greyed vocals crooning in a London lilt on London things, talking of driving through the classically poor British weather in a blue van and seeing the dismal industrial estates, these places Nicely wants us to know where real life seems to happen. It’s a bit laboured and janky, quite surreal really as we begin to lose ourselves in its off-kilter passages, but the Abul Mogard remix takes its smokey suggestions and amplifies them, cementing a twilight-into-nighttime atmosphere that the original doesn’t seem to possess as it summons these vast and entrenched passages of dense smeared drone lines that feel like they’re coming from the deep wellspring of Mogard’s soul itself. The suburbian labyrinthes are transformed into a mesmerising haze that takes a view from the passenger’s seat rather than the driver’s side, gazing blearily out of our rain-streaked windows into the dimming world beyond that seems to be falling into cinematic slow-motion drifts of blurred lights and shops and unrecognised faces, both luxurious and crushingly bleak and drab as we pass through the tidal highs of concrete monotony.
Of course the original vocal elements still remain, albeit rather altered; a fraction of the content creeps through like snippets of a story we’re not really hearing, our companion’s trailing commentary on our sojourn passing by largely unheard in our trance-like state. They tie the piece together very well though, these echoic shards of thought melting seamlessly into the dense currents at the fringe of our consciousness, adding a new dimension of emotional value to the already encompassing drones.
Once again, Mogard shows not just his ability to create his own intimately beautiful constructions but also his skill at deconstructing and reconfiguring the work of others into effortlessly emotive new pieces; just perfect for these darkening Autumnal evenings as we lapse into dark rush-hour runs.