Nik Colk Void is well established with her work - using modular systems, voice and guitar - as one half of Factory Floor, one third of Carter Tutti Void (alongside Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti) and with the late Peter Rehberg as NPVR, but perhaps surprisingly, 'Bucked Up Space' is her first solo album release.
Void explains, “When Peter Rehberg initially asked me to produce a record for Editions Mego, I didn't feel quite ready and asked if we could make a record together instead. Collaboration is so ingrained into what I do, I only felt ready to make this album after working through ideas live, using the audience in place of the collaborator.”
Bucked Up Space combines Void’s love of improvisation with the driving force of beat-driven music absorbed from performing in galleries, residencies and clubs across the UK and Europe. She goes on to say, “You find out more about yourself when you explain your ideas to others, and that’s how I felt the live performance worked for me.”
The process steadily teased out a language and Void employed a variety of tactics in the recording process including a methodical approach of collecting data at her home studio in a manner not dissimilar to keeping a diary. Her microscopic focus on raw instrumental noise, layered and reformulated, resulted in a sound catalogue that Void divided into groups for their tone, density and texture.
These initial pieces were taken to a studio in Margate to put them into a more cohesive compositional context. Something that pragmatically started as cold and detached was given warmth, unity and emotion in the studio. Via improvised repetition co-existing alongside organised production, Void conjures new sonic muscle with tracks such as ‘Interruption Is Good’ and ‘FlatTime’. Initial recordings are rendered into sequences initiating the organic rhythms, triggering awkward jerks of high hats and percussion, or used to activate the margins of post effects detectable in the tracks like ‘Demna’, ‘Big Breather’ and ‘Oversized’.
Void explains: “It was important to me that the simplicity in the work disguised a lot of complexity, I want this work to be absorbed instinctively.”
The sleeve image, a still from We Are City by Brazilian artist Maria de Lima, was chosen to illustrate Bucked Up Space, which Void describes as “a distorted reality, the space that lives at start of an idea, then floats in public view, before returning to inform my understanding of the idea. Once the idea is out in the world, it moves and morphs into something else entirely.”
Written, performed and produced by Nik Void, the album was engineered by James Greenwood, mastered by Rashad Becker and tracks 1, 4, 5, 7 and 9 were mixed by Marta Salogni.
Bucked up Space is the result of the ideas and resulting sounds of free exploration morphing into a personal structured album that fearlessly moulds patience, listening and restraint. It’s a sharp focussed work embracing collective action through the lens of the self. All this, and also one of the best abstract dance records you will hear in some time!