For Mountain Range, the pseudonym of Shropshire raised electronic explorer Stuart Thomas, the making of his debut album was an experience as draining as it was rewarding. That album, A Thousand Times Troubles, received widespread critical acclaim and simultaneously was almost the end of Mountain Range. Stuart even briefly announced he was retiring from music, the painstaking process of hours spent alone, writing, re-writing and re-writing again, had in some ways sucked much of the joy out of making music. Thankfully for fans of his work, it wasn’t an end he needed, just a break. He left Hackney behind and returned to his spiritual home of Leeds and without the pressure of deadlines, the ideas returned, the music returned, and Mountain Range returned. A stand-alone single, A Known Coward appeared online a few months ago, and today we’re delighted to share the next chapter in his story, a new single. What Party?
In many ways, What Party? sounds like a musician working with a new-found freedom. Whilst A Thousand Times Troubles was dense, complex, and challenging, What Party? is probably as loose, and accessible as Mountain Range has ever sounded. It instantly breaks the rules of singles by starting with thirty seconds of barely there at all beats, that sounds to our untrained ear like raindrops falling on a plastic box. A lead synth line with an eight-bit quality drifts in, and the whole thing gently builds around pulsing bassy beats and the metallic, twang of a heavily processed mbira. The track collapses to almost nothing, then roars back on flittering, arpeggiated pulses, and soaring synth tones that sound like an e-bow on a guitar, then almost as quickly as it arrived the track floats away, to a meandering line of keys, and the deeply nostalgic tones of what sounds like a distant music box slowly beginning to turn.
It was the late-Carrie Fisher who wrote, in her novel Postcards from the Edge, that two of the saddest words in the English language were “what party?”. In many ways it’s a fitting title for the music of Mountain Range, while most electronic music is synonymous with dance floors and night clubs, Mountain Range have always existed in a different musical sphere. This is music of minute details, music for drowning out the pressures of the world around you, music for headphones, music for walking the streets alone as the sun slowly rises in the distance, music that makes us feel alive: Welcome back to the party Mountain Range.
What Party? is out now as a free download via Bad Panda. Click HERE for more information on Mountain Range.
Header photo by Kaamilah Nahaboo – http://kaamilah-nahaboo.com/