Track By Track: Nathan Fake – Crystal Vision

5 Minute Read
Nathan Fake Press Shot

Nathan Fake has just released new album, ‘Crystal Vision’, on his own label, Cambria Instruments featuring collaborations with Clark and Wizard Apprentice.

Fake describes the album as “music for music’s sake, free from agendas or themes.”   The result is a record that is clear in execution and ambitious in sound, a testament to Fake’s ability as a master craftsman but with plenty of rawness and rave-energy thrown in.

There’s Italo disco, electro, trance, jacking house, techno and jungle in the mix here interspersed with minimalistic moments. A smorgasbord one could say.

Ahead of the album we asked Nathan to break down the album track by track.


the album intro. a bright, short, gentle opener which a friend said sounds like opening curtains and letting sunlight in.

this was built around an epic, tense but emphatic melody line which loops slowly and grows and evolves throughout the track. Wizard Apprentice’s vocals sit beautifully over the top and become buried in the synths and drums before resurfacing near the end again.

this is a fun, bouncy track. the initial idea was the simple drum pattern which was intended to be an homage to italo disco, with a pretty bold or brash sounding bassline. the chords and arpeggio synths kind of soften things up a bit with major-chord whimsy.

the title alludes to the drums for the track being made on a Boss DR-550 drum machine, which is quite a naff, tinny sounding thing but i like the challenge of using quite “crap” sounds and making them sound good or something. haha. the bassline is deliberately quite simple, using a crude sample of a yamaha dx-100. this track also has an actual drop or something, which is quite rare for me these days.

this one is quite different – built around a slow live drum loop, with a dense melody over it, which grows throughout the track. i think this is a stand out track, something a bit playful and distinctive maybe.

a brief ambient interlude. an experiment in FM synthesis and low-fidelity cassette recording.

the “hot pants” drum break with syrup-y chords over the top, which ends up being something like shoegaze-breakbeat. very lo-fi but glistening and colourful i think.

this was initially meant to be a pastiche of 2005-era me, with the shuffled drums and bouncy/poppy synth lines. the drums have a modern crunch to them, and also the mixdown is way different to what i’d have done 20 years ago. a really fun track i’d say.

as the title suggests, this is me playing around with the amen break and making something jungle-influenced. again this was loads of fun to make, and a favourite among friends too. i wanted to make something that was very obviously jungle but also very much with my stamp on it, i.e. the melody parts and arrangement.

a collaboration with Chris Clark, who is genuinely one of my favourite musicians ever, so it’s a massive honour to actually write and make a track with him. this is a really epic track – i wrote the main synth riff and chris played synths over the top and really made it a full-length tearjerker. i remember listening to this on loop on my headphones walking around norwich at night, and laughing and crying at the same time. so i can’t wait for the rest of the world to hear this.