There is something wonderfully tribal about the back-beat and rumbling bass line of this latest release from Charlie Nieland, the title track of his forthcoming album. The constant hypnotic punctuation, a primeval call to arms, the pulsing of a global sonic heart, both a simple rhythm and a universal dance. And on top of this he balances shards of guitar noise, beguiling electronica and his imploring vocals.
As is often the way, Divisions, had its birth in literature, in this case The Hidden Life Of Trees by Peter Wohlleben stemming from him being partly responsible for a performance series called Bushwick Book Club, a collective who write songs inspired by books every month. Divisions, the single, comes with two other sonic travelling companions and So Few Have So Much, in particular, is equally urgent and erstwhile. This track will also be found on the full-length album to follow.
Both of these tracks deal with the idea of systems on the edge of collapse, something which is applicable to so much in the world today, from political movements to social unity to delicately balanced biological and ecological structures. But as always Nieland approaches such subjects with a musical deftness and sonic poise which may at first belie the poignancy of the message he is sending.
It’s a fascinating song, one which explores a number of the artist’s own personal ideas but which is about as relevant as it gets to the world at large. People write scientific papers, make documentaries, slam their fists down at the political podium, threaten, cajole and shock us with talk of imminent demise. Sometimes a poised and poignant pop song just seems to do it so much better.