Posts Tagged ‘electro’

Having announced their debut album Admire last month with first single ‘Pls, You Must Be a Dream’, LA-based noise duo GHXST has now shared new track ‘Marry The Night’.

‘Marry the Night’ is a love song for nights after hours spent walking through empty streets. The track opens with a lulling atmospheric loop that gradually opens into heavier spaces, with Shelley X’s signature delayed vocals echoing against drop-tuned guitars. Throughout, a drum machine pulses, like beats echoing from outside a Brooklyn warehouse. It’s gloomy listening, but the gloom is somehow warm and inviting. 

The video is a compilation of stories shot on iPhone by friends of the band. Scenes jump from New York to New Orleans to Palau to Los Angeles. There’s no narrative, but the moody, b&w scenes feel like flipping through someone’s lost memories from an endless day.

Watch the video here:

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Mille Plateaux – MP40 – 11th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

The last time I engaged with the work of Cristian Vogel was when his double-disc compilation, the archly-titled Classics in 2016. This retrospective covered his 90s output, and traced his evolution as an innovator in underground techno and electronica. His catalogue has doubled in size since then, and it’s apparent that Vogel isn’t only prolific, but an artist who doesn’t like to retread old ground, constantly questing and striving to develop and explore new directions. 1Zhuayo explores many new directions, all at once.

Penning notes to accompany the release of this album, Lain Iwakura and Achim Szepanski wrote that ‘The new Cristian Vogel album 1Zhuayo sounds as if non-musicology & ultra-blackness is not an end or a destination to be arrived at, but as if it is the point of departure, much like tomorrow relates to the day after tomorrow. As if we have left the space of certainties and are moving instead into one of manifold possibilities. They are anticipated in the micro-structures of sound, which is the process of playing with and against the software.’

But then I start to get lost when they continue to explain how Vogel ‘creates a rhythmight that is constructed from the anticausality of Rhythm as counter-counted, the tracing of the rhythmicity of Rhythm in the creation-in-Rhythm. Rhythm is foreclosed to hearing. Non-music radicalizes this notion by subtracting hearing from the framework of experimental music, which claims that everything is heard from Rhythm. The material of music is the continious flow itself. Cristian Vogels method for this way of creating sound is called Rhythmics.’

I feel as if I’m wandering through Deleuze and Guatarri’s A Thousand Plateaus while drunk and on drugs. Words lose meaning – as does sound. It’s bewildering, disorientating. 1Zhuayo is, on most levels, a dance album. But it’s not an easy one, and it’s pretty dark and dense in the main.

The album starts as a churning roar, scraping feedback and industrial machinery grinding away like a tumble drier full of broken bricks, before ‘Hyphadelity’ plunges into booming bass groove-orientated dance. But it’s not comfortable or commercial: the vocals are menacing, half-submerged as they are amidst the busy layerings and the surges of extraneous noise. ‘Astrocumbia’ sees things turn nasty: dance music you can’t dance to, a frenzy of distorted beats exploding all over amidst a gruelling churn or super-low, super-hectic bass that pounds at the pit of the stomach and crushes the cranium. ‘Emanations’ slows it down with an almost dubby vibe.

Things unfold differently on ‘S18’. Again, the dance tropes are prominent, but they’re fractured, pulled apart, before a tsunami of solid sound crashes through on ‘1Zhuayo Express’, which swells to immense proportions, like Godzilla rising from the deep, flexing its muscles as a wall of sound, gloopy bass and grating mid-range pulsating in a monstrous behemoth of power electronics.

The Strom Stadt remix of ‘Transferenz’ is a brutal exercise in monster hardfloor techno that makes The Prodigy’s later works sound like bouncy chart pop, while the Disintegration Mix of ‘Angle Phase Life’ is a brutal mesh of noise with mangled beats partially submerged by the successive detonations of low-end. It sounds like an erupting volcano and missiles launching in slow motion. And amidst it all, electronics pop and squelch like fireworks.

‘Cables’ isn’t a cover of the Big Black song: in fact, it’s quite the opposite being stark and minimal, stuttering glitchy, with a crunching bass drum thudding mercilessly throughout, before the last piece, ‘Serpent Acid’, a splattering blast of jamming percussion and nagging, repetitive, cyclical synth motifs.

Less is more, and this is largely minimal, but at the same time, builds up later from unexpected angles to create something different. It leaves you feeling somewhat dazed – in a good way.

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Cruel Nature Recordings – 11th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Following on from their eponymous debut, Pound Land – the duo consisting of vocalist/lyricist Adam Stone (Future Bomb/Holy Ghost People/frequent collaborator with Dead Sea Apes) and multi-instrumentalist Nick Harris (Reverends of Destruction/ ex-Dead Sea Apes) return with what they describe as ‘eight tracks of post-industrial post-hardcore dead-pan misery – a ‘kitchen-sink’ punk for the 21st century’.

The album title isn’t one that’s likely to see Pound Land crashing the charts, and it’s one that runs the risk of drawing easy criticism, if its contents doesn’t hit the mark for some. But then, it’s a double-bluff, because ant critic who criticises the band for sounding like they can’t be arsed clearly can’t be arsed to critique with any effort.

They slap in straight away with the blunt and subtle as a brick ‘Twatted’, and it’s a six-minute barrage of top-endy guitar racket, a simple chord sequence put through the wringer after a succession of pedals with distortion and reverb and maybe a hint of flange. The lead guitar is sinewy, a snaking twang of treble and it’s so, so raw. A primitive drum machine sound thwacks away and Stone mumbles the expletive-laden lyrics in a northern drawl: ‘You know what I’m fucking saying, mate? Everyone’s a fucking twat, mate.’ It’s raw and it’s real. The production values are bargain basement and then some, and around the mid-point they come on full Fall circa 1983 as they bludgeon away at their wonky guitar racket.

‘Brain Driver’ is a dingy mess of seething, writing no-wave and industrial racket by way of a backing to a monotone vocal performance, and this time it’s six-and-a-half minutes of dirge-like scrapings and discomfort, but they’re just warming up for the album’s thirteen-minute centrepiece, ‘Tony Ex-Miner’. It’s a sparse, grating synth effort, like Suicide without the rhythm. It’s an atonal droning expanse of bleakness that saps your very soul. This is a reason to appreciate it, in case you’re wondering. A sampled narrative about Margaret Thatcher is almost, but not fully, audible.

The sneering grunge squall of ‘Tapeworm’ follows more conventional punk/rock structures; drums, bass, guitar come together to grind out a thunderous wall of noise, and it’s early Head of David that comes to mind as they slowly tug your entrails out and squeeze the mess of guts as they spill. There is nothing pretty or pleasant about this, not the dingy murk of the title track or the dislocated electronic dissonance of the disorientating slur of ‘Total Control’, that sounds like Stone retaining control of his bowels and bladder is no small feat. ‘I look after my mind’, he drones, detached, alone on the dark.

The compositions, such as they are, are sketchy, minimal, and there’s little to cling to by way of melody: instead, Pound Land drag you through city back alleys clogged with litter, smeared dog shit and the puddled piss of street drinkers – mate. The subject matter may be kitchen sink, but the atmosphere is abject and apocalyptic. It’s an album for out times. You’re not supposed to like it.

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Postpunk-darkwave-electro trio VONAMOR presents their pulsating and enthralling new single ‘You the People’. Recalling the best dark pop of the ‘80s, this is the second taste of their impending debut VONAMOR album, an 8-track collection produced by Lucio Leoni and being released via Time To Kill Records (TTK).

The hypnotic fast-paced videoclip features dystopian imagery depicting the messed-up and borderline world in which we live. The sound weaves together stories of men, power and protest worldwide to sharp dialogue between male and female, voiced in English and Italian. Colours and pounding images mesh with archive footage of clashes between people and power, men and progress, technology and freedom, as flashes of our modern world strike your retina.

“Through our darkwave music and words, we search for the question, the ambiguity, the multiform influence of a variety of demons. We feel the urgency of questioning ourselves, our fellow human beings and the reality around us," says Giulia Bottaro.

“At first it may seem you are watching the videoclip for ‘You the People’, but the more you go on, you may feel that the video itself is watching you – and you are there, at the very intersection between we and you, between past and present, between desire and fear, between sound and colour.”

‘You The People’ underlines VONAMOR’s dialecticism and style, as well as their will to convey originality and sensuality, even when menacing, with passion and intensity. Eternally playing with words and sounds, they never lose sight of the rhythmic, Dyonisian and captivating soul of their electro dark, post-punk vision.

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This single follows the lead track ‘Take Your Heart’, which has been met with international acclaim, and its intriguing video, directed and edited by Fabio Santomauro. Last year, the trio released the singles ‘Never Betray Us’ and ‘Fast-Forward Girl’.

VONAMOR is made up of sisters Giulia Bottaro, Francesca Bottaro and Luca Guidobaldi, with Francesco Bassoli and Martino Cappelli joining the trio for live performances. The band’s roots date back to 2016 in Rome. Initially focused on communicating images and composing scores for short films, they morphed into the trio we know today with their style, literary echoes, imperious art-pop and enigmatic aesthetics.

“VONAMOR is an escape plan, our treasure island, a thick and savage jungle that gives you the chance to let your prayers and whispers reverberate like a church. We used the music in this album to walk paths that we hadn’t known before, to connect Rome to Paris to Berlin to Beijing, to mix techno music with folk, to let our voices and bodies mingle and dance to an incredibly weird yet familiar beat, and finally to search for a boom of love and light into the dark of our everyday life: yes, VONAMOR is a boom!” says Luca Guidobaldi.

Watch the video here:

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MILDREDA’s sinister video clip ‘Liaisons Dangereuses’ has been selected by the Brussels Independent Film Festival in the short film category "The Rabbit Holes". This category is dedicated to a cinematic rabbit hole of offbeat, weird, wonderful, poetic, surreal, and abstract films. The clip had been created by the Belgian production house Pigeon Eggs and features Belgian actress and model Miss C.

Watch the video here:

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Mildreda comment: “The girl in the video played by Miss C symbolises a ‘poisonous muse’, which is what I like to call this type of character”, explains mastermind Jan Dewulf. “In the short film, you will see that the girl evolves from white to black, which illustrates her allegorical shift from ‘good to evil’. Though in fact, she was toxic from the start.”

‘Liaisons Dangereuses’ has been taken from Mildreda’s critically acclaimed physical debut full-length I Was Never Really There.

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Image: Pieter Clicteur

Mark Sousa, the mastermind behind futurepop act, Voicecoil has just dropped the debut EP for his project, Gravity Corps.

“Gravity Corps is a different angle to what I do artistically.  It’s a more aggressive, angrier side of my mind.  It’s a more simplistic and raw presentation in its themes.” – Mark Sousa.

Zero Grav plays on various varied themes from track to track. ‘Thankful For Another Day’ is a simple statement of the same titled track. Tracks like ‘Selling Sorrow’ and ‘Cold And Elegant’ focus heavily on themes of artistic integrity and disassociation respectively. ‘Scarred To Death’ (the first piece written for the project) was inspired by dark science fiction.

Zero Grav is available now as a digital download via Bandcamp.

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1st December 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Do you ever feel that the problems facing humanity right now are of our own making? That the phrase ‘scum of the earth’ applies to humanity as a whole, because we as a species have simply fucked everything up beyond all repair? Because the simple fact is, we have. What other creature destroy its own habitat as well as those of nearly all others? Parasites seek to achieve symbiosis with their host; viruses mutate to become more transmissible but less fatal; the aim is not to kill its host but to thrive and expand. Mankind is worse than parasitic, the most brutal virus that evolves slowly and in ways which are counterintuitive, namely to exhaust its host. Where do we actually go from here? The prospect of inhabiting Mars with colonies because we’ve fucked up the world we were born to seems beyond insane.

The shock-factor-monikered Skat Injector are – as you’d likely expect – upfront in their positioning, pitched as serving up ‘Grindcore-inspired speedcore and a diatribe of anti-human propaganda because that’s what we deserve for what we’ve become.’ They have a deep sense of self-loathing and misanthropy, and it’s abundantly cleat on this dehumanised, inhuman blasting racket that’s dark, deep, glitchy, subterranean, demonic, wrecked on every level.

They rail against ‘Willful [sic] ignorance, habitat loss, animal abuse, global ecocide, global warming, environmental pollution, overpopulation and many other attributes of a leeching narcissistic race which needs to live within its bounds’. They shouldn’t have to; this is how life should work.

On Bled Under A Burning Sky, Skat Injector pound and rage and rage and pound, as grating, raw-threated vocals spit, snarl, and grind against a backdrop of frenzies percussion. The lyrics aren’t always – or often – decipherable, but the sentiment is clear.

‘All Tomorrow’s Genocides’ is like a grindcore Prurient, with soft, spindly synths slowly spinning misty swirls of fear chords around pulverizing drill-like beats. Explosive doesn’t come close to a fitting description.

‘An Earth Cleansed with Flame’ goes full harsh electro and is straight up Chis and Cosey trance backing, at least at first, manifesting as aggressive dance with harsh vocals, while the six-minute ‘The Future Sound of Suffering’ brings the suffering and it’s painful in its crunching brutality. ‘Vanishes Rapidly’ is constructed around explosive dynamics, and flips from near ambience to the firing of an AK-47 directly into the ear. It’s brutal and it’s savage, but also very much the ultimate expression of the industrial era, and ‘Obsidian Dawn’ only amplifies and intensifies. It fucking hurts.

The album is dominated by beats so hard and fast they sound like drills and nail guns, this is industrial and its hardest and most industrial, the sonic equivalent of applying a power drill on hammer setting to the eyeball.

At almost fifty-two minutes, it packs a lot of firepower, a lot of punch – so much so that it leases you panting and pounded – in a good way, of course, assuming you have at least a faintly masochistic streak and appreciate music that’s as much about testing your endurance as it is coaxing and massaging the pleasure zones with a battering ram and a taser simultaneously.

The second CD – another fifty-three minutes – of instrumental and extended versions of the album’s tracks is certainly not one for the passing listener or casual fan, and it’s perhaps not essential even for moderate fans, although the nine-minute extended version of the title track is certainly a nice pain-inflicting bonus.

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Ahead of the release of their new album, Fascination, released 18th February 2022 on Metropolis Records, The Birthday Massacre have unveiled ‘Dreams of You’.

Listen to ‘Dreams of You’ here:

A Canadian darkwave ensemble who incorporate elements of electronica, goth and new wave into their lush and atmospheric dark pop sound, The Birthday Massacre have enjoyed success over the last decade with albums such as ‘Hide And Seek’ (2012) and ‘Under Your Spell’ (2017), both of which charted at home and abroad. The early spring of 2020 then saw the release of the brooding and mystical ‘Diamonds’, just as the onset of the global pandemic curtailed extensive touring plans to promote it.

The group has released a brand new single entitled ‘Dreams Of You’ today as an opening taster from their upcoming ninth album, ‘Fascination’, which is out on 18th February 2022. Expansive sounding yet intimate feeling, TBM’s signature blend of captivating electronics, aggressive guitars, cinematic melodies and beautifully bewitching vocals are on full display, while the album shows that the magical world they have created with their music has grown ever more captivating.

The Birthday Massacre commence a 30 date US tour the week after album release, with a similarly extensive set of dates in the UK and mainland Europe to follow later in 2022.

The Birthday Massacre formed in 2000 in Ontario and were originally known as Imagica, their name taken from the title of a novel by Clive Barker. Having relocated to Toronto, they renamed themselves The Birthday Massacre just before the release of their debut album, ‘Nothing & Nowhere’, in the summer of 2002. The ‘Violet’ EP was issued in 2004 and then made available in expanded form as a full album via Metropolis Records, a label with whom the group have remained ever since.

The next two TBM albums, ‘Walking with Strangers’ (2007) and ‘Pins and Needles’ (2010), plus the EP ‘Imaginary Monsters’ EP (2011), were followed by 2012’s ‘Hide and Seek’, which enjoyed a warm critical reception and a measure of chart success. The group turned to their fans to help crowdfund their sixth album, ‘Superstition’, which appeared in late 2014 and was supported by major tours in North America, the UK, mainland Europe and Brazil.

A compilation of early four-track demos entitled ‘Imagica’ (2016) preceded ‘Under Your Spell’, released in 2017 and which made a strong showing on multiple US charts. Three years later, the band celebrated their 20th anniversary with ‘Diamonds’, its release seeing new drummer Phillip Elliot and bassist Brett ‘Bat’ Carruthers join the band’s ranks. The latter is also the frontman of alternative rock band A Primitive Evolution.

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Bearsuit Records – 12th November 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s unusual to open an album with a B-side from the lead single, but there’s nothing usual about Eamon the Destroyer or Bearsuit Records, and the scratchy soporific drone and distorted / filtered vocals of ‘Silver Shadow’ – which reference the ‘small blue car’ to which the album owes its name – makes for a worthy introduction by means of introverted minimalism. It’s largely representative of an album that’s slow sparse, minimal and somewhat lugubrious.

I take the nom de guerre Eamon the Destroyer ironically. That may be wrong, it may be some unpleasant prejudice, and if so, I do apologise. This isn’t a PC matter or issue. But names come with certain associations, and the connotations of Eamon aren’t particularly warlord, at least to my mind. No diss to any Eamons, but the name is about as warlord as Gavin, Kevin, or Craig. No doubt there are some brutal twats by the name of Kevin, but, well, y’know, it doesn’t evince fear. The concept of ‘the destroyer’ is one of something harsh, brutal, obliterative, too, but that also isn’t the case here. Consider Ah Puch the Destroyer, Mayan god of death and disaster whose coming would mark the end of days. There is nothing explosive or devastating about A Small Blue Car – it is not a violent sonic blast of earth-shattering, annihilative proportions, yet it does, strangely, evoke a sense of near-finality. There is an all-pervading sadness that hangs over the album’s entirety, a sadness that’s slow-creeping and heavy, like a weight that pulls you down, bending your back with the effort

‘Humanity is Coming’ is downbeat, gloomy, and things get particularly dark and dense on the short instrumental ‘The Conjuring Stops’, with a heavily phased synth yielding a pulsating throb in the style of Suicide. ‘The Avalanche’ also brings some weight, with lots of granular sounds and bolds bursts of sweeping synths in the choruses that contrast with the woozy drone and is perhaps how Leonard Cohen might have sounded in the early years of his career if he’s chosen Moods instead of an acoustic guitar. The end result, musically, is like Stereolab on Ketamine.

The slow rasp of single cut ‘My Drive’, with its whistle of feedback and detuned radio in the distance while the picked guitar – spacious and delicate – curls like smoke into the darkness, and it piles on the melancholy.

‘Uledaro’ follows, a dolorous jumble of discord. ‘Nothing Like Anything’ is conspicuous by its near-cheeriness ‘wake up / the sun is out / we’re almost home’, Eamon intones in a rare glimmer of optimism. There’s whistling and levity, and it’s almost, almost a pop song. But of course, it’s not. And perhaps it’s more me feeling autumnal, but the happiness only accentuates the sadness, as if the jollity is a mask to sorrow so inexplicably deep that it has to be covered up. The nights are dark, the world feels a very long way off and a long time ago. It’s time to hibernate, with A Small Blue Car for company.

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Christopher Nosnibor

That there is a shortage of grass-roots venues is a widely-reported fact, and the last year and a half has only exacerbated what is, put bluntly, a crisis in the music industry. At the heart of it all, the problem is is that we exist under capitalism. Art and capitalism simply aren’t compatible. We therefore have a model whereby venues need to book acts who will bring punters who will pay for tickets and spend money over the bar. But how do acts who simply don’t have an established audience, or are unlikely to ever attain that kind of audience reach whatever audience they may have? How do acts who need the exposure get the exposure in the first place? The system is flawed. However, recent years have seen the emergence of a different kind of venue, with rehearsal rooms doubling as gig spaces. They maybe small, but that’s for the better – gigs with an audience of maybe 20 people don’t need a lot of space. Unlicensed, BYOB means no overheads or costs there, and because these spaces make their money by other means, any takings from gigs are simply a bonus. They also tend to benefit from being on industrial estates, meaning there’s less risk of neighbours complaining about noise, meaning the only downside is that they’re not so often in prime city centre locations. But how many small venues are these days?

Places like CHUNK and Mabgate Bleach in Leeds and Hatch in Sheffield have led the way, and now Tower Studios in Stone, a little way out of Stoke-on-Trent, presents a ‘proper’ gig following one shot for online streaming as part of the last FEAST event (with FEAST being very much something born out of lockdown with a series of streaming events).

For a place a bit off the beaten track, it’s stunning. Scratch that: by any standards, it’s stunning. A rehearsal space with a stage and meticulously maintained, it’s something else. The PA speakers are halfway down the room in the main room and face the stage, doubling as monitors, meaning the band get to hear the ‘out front’ mix instead of the monitor mix. There is a second, smaller room, but we’re in the main room tonight for a lineup of noise and experimentalism, and if the audience isn’t huge, at least they’re receptive.

Omnibael open with an ear-bleeding blast of space rock feedback with industrial percussion worthy of Godflesh. Jase plays pedalboard predominantly. Brief moments swerve into black metal, but it’s mostly just a relentless barrage of noise. The third track goes a bit Sunn O))), with big hefty power chords paving the way for more raging metal noise. The duo’s experimental explorations may yet to have found a firm stylistic footing but this outing is perhaps their most focussed and most intense live workout yet as they continue to evolve.

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OMNIBAEL

The second act, Vile Plumage, make like performance art, but struggle to keep straight faces, like they know this is audacious and preposterous. The gloved hands over faces cover grins disguised as menacing smirks. Stop start blasts of noise judder and thud. A rattling bean tin. We got given pebbles to toss into a bowl, and it was all quite bizarre and confusing, but entertaining in a strange and ritualistic way.

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Vile Plumage

I must have zoned out or blanked out for the next twenty minutes. Something about some guy cranking out electronic noise reminiscent of early Whitehouse while shouting torrents of vitriol and profanity through squalls of feedback, I don’t know much and I can’t comment on whether or not it was any good. But I think it happened.

Garbage Pail Kids is an experimental duo which features Theo Gowans, aka Territorial Gobbing – meaning that anyone familiar with the scene will have an idea what to expect –namely anything as long as its experimental, noisy, and improvised – and Basic Switches, the experimental side project of Leeds indie act Cowtown. Weirdy drones and feedback strongly reminiscent of Throbbing Gristle dominate the set. There’s echoed vocal oddness and endless pulsations with phasers set to warp and stun. Crazy headgear is of course a signature, and the headgear is particularly crazy here. The ‘anything goes’ oddity is nonstop, and at one point we find Theo playing keyboard barefoot while ululating wildly. It’s a complete headfuck, but a brilliant one.

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Garbage Pail Kids

Final act Ashtray Navigations are far easier on the ear. Predominantly dominated by dark, ambient sounds and gentle ripplings, although these are ruptured by dense synth bass and crushing beats. They venture deep into prog and space rock with vintage drum machine sounds: the snare is pure Roland 606. The set builds with some bumping bass that’s more akin to Chris & Cosey’s Trance era works. After a guitar string change that does slow the momentum just a little, the last piece combines the throb of Suicide with extravagant prog guitaring. It works primarily because of the blistering volume that’s utterly gut-trembling.

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Ashtray Navigations

It makes for a great end to a great night, offering a selection of sounds that have enough in common to be complimentary, but different enough so as to snag the attention. With any luck, this will become the blueprint for nights to come.