Paying homage to the electro era of the 80′s, NZCA/lines is the high pitched vocalist who loves pop music and plays bad bass.
Constructing complicated but evocative musical constellations, Michael Lovett is the Aaliyah loving, postmodern instrumentalist who, last year, created the perfect synth pop album. Produced by Chalie Alex Match and released via Loaf Recordings, Compass Points is a beautiful, melodious ode to synth-devised serenity. i-D online caught up with the deep thinking bedroom based music maker to find out how his former spiritual home of Edinburgh has shaped his distinctive style today, and scored an exclusive mix for this week’s i-DJ. Welcome back to working life.
“I have not yet been fortunate enough to travel outside of Europe. This is especially ironic considering the name under which I make music! NZCA/LINES, is drawn from the geoglyphic drawings in the Nazca region of Peru. I have never seen them first hand. I can of course construct, and hold in my imagination, the sights of fantastic cities in Russia, Asia, the Americas. Places where people live who could uproot my perceptions of what I hold to be normal life, where I could experience things far beyond my present conceptions or expectations. There are the places I have visited… Bucharest, Barcelona, Paris and many others. Yet these are too huge for me to impose an opinion on. I would rather talk about somewhere I lived for a brief time, that does not hold much of a position amongst superstar cities. That is, I will talk about Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is a small city, and I left because I was restless, indecisive and young(er). I was 20 years old, attending the art college, and after an attempt to transfer to Glasgow proved unsuccessful, I left the North and moved with the crowds to London. However, my time in Edinburgh had more impact on me than I could tell. Maybe it’s just those places that become associated with a certain point in your life – a degree of nostalgia is unavoidably attached to them. Yet, if one looks beyond the touristic dross of the town centre with its bagpipes and tartan, Edinburgh is a rather amazing and unique city. The architecture, Georgian tenement buildings standing three or four stories high, is distinctly Scottish, and the stone is brought from surrounding quarries. This means, like Bath, the old city is of a homogenous character, built as a piece. Driving there from the South of England you feel like you are reaching a remote citadel. There is, of course, Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano sitting in the middle of Edinburgh that can be seen from many points in town. Yet, some form of wild country can be seen from almost any point in the city, as though the Pentland hills threatens to reclaim it. Then there are the many bizarre and unique juxtapositions within the metropolis itself; beneath Arthur’s Seat, in the centre of Edinburgh, is a tiny village, Duddingsdon. Blackford Hill in the south of the city hides upon its moorland an observatory, behind it a wood and a river, and if you visit at spawning season the entire hill is covered with mating frogs. To the north, on the Firth of Forth, is Cramond Island, which is covered in squat buildings intended to form the silhouette of a battleship – deterring German U-Boats attempting to enter the river. The ‘ruins’ on Parliament Hill are in fact fake, the sad beginnings of a replica Parthenon that was never completed. The city itself is also littered with hidden or covered past states. Princes Street Gardens used to be the Nor Loch, which sat beneath the volcanic plug on which the castle now stands, whilst the Royal Mile is in fact built directly upon an older high street that is now hidden beneath its foundations. This is where hear-say conflicts with truth and reality; I remember being told that this old high street was plague-ridden, and built upon to seal away the disease. At this point, I have to decide whether I want to half-dream this city, or try and follow reality. Because, like Alasdair Gray’s masterpiece Lanark, which takes place across a semi-fictionalised Glasgow and Edinburgh, it seems very easy to create a subjective, internal map for this place.”
Catch NZCA/Lines headlining the next i-D Mix night!
Introduction: Milly McMahon