freeze time with knomad spock’s stunning ‘winter of discontent’
By Nathan Leigh
December 30, 2021
“If we can make it through the winter
If we can make it through the storm”
Some records just hit you at the right moment. As we head into yet another winter of uncertainty and needless pain, the transformative poetry of British-Somali artist Knomad Spock perfectly captures the mixture of mourning and hope. Recovering from a bout of depression, Spock found himself at a cottage on the Isle of Lismore, where a spark of clarity transformed a suite of songs he’d been working on for a decade into an album. He immediately booked time at the nearest studio and recorded Winter Of Discontent over a whirlwind session. The immediacy, the urgency, the need to capture a moment in time pours out from the recording.
“I went outside to go inside
Will it coincide with the mood?”
His voice delicate and questioning, Spock’s compositions have a questioning quality. There’s an uncertainty throughout. On the record’s highlights “Papillion” and “Egypt” the question of change is at the forefront of his mind. A caterpillar enters a chrysalis certain that change is happening, but unsure whether that change is for the better or worse. A hushed intensity surrounds his guitar work that splits the difference between Nick Drake and Johnny Greenwood. The tension that underpins songs like “Know” suggests a detonation is imminent. An army of folk punk guitarists have failed to make the acoustic guitar even half this explosive.
Throughout, Knomad Spock invites us to sit in the uncertainty and see it for what it is. His lush melodies and oblique lyrics take on a zen quality, stretching time to infinite lengths. It’s an attempt to stop time and exist in the space between to poles, as on the devastating “Poles” which begins upbeat before swallowing itself in a mess of self-doubt. The centerpiece is the stunning “Ballad” which asks for absolute honesty and unconditional love and tries to freeze time in the space between the question and the answer. The moment when the answer could be yes.
Winter of Discontent is out now. For best results, try the vinyl. Follow Knomad Spock on Instagram @knomadspock for more.
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