In comparison with recent years gone by, 2022 has seen a wide range of talented new acts spawn from the woodwork, and All Structures Align are just about the finest of the lot.
Formed by brothers, Tim and Adam Ineson, the pair have released not one but two LPs this year, Details and Drawings and Distance and Departure. Their music as evasive and mind-bending as their album titles, after months of listening, and both releases still remain neck and neck where choosing the best one is concerned.
Not that it’s a competition of course. The brothers – formerly of ’90s underground post-hard collective, Nub – produce a meticulous, ghostly lustre with gorgeous textures and multi-layered messages that land in different places each time one listens.
Essentially, All Structures Align are purveyors of elusive music, and while Details and Drawings contains more of an immediate charm, follow-up Distance and Departure is a beautiful progression that slowly seeps into the pores, forever occupying the bloodstream.
On Distance and Departure, Tim and Adam are joined by underground veteran percussionist, Neil Turpin (Bilge Pump, Ivan the Tolerable, Yann Tiersen). His syncopated rhythms adding an obscure dynamism to these songs.
From the sonic tremor of Crown Rockets to the weaving, Slint-inspired Every Eye and The Last Five, Distance and Departure comes into its own with album centrepiece, Dream of Rigs. And as the post-rock-meets-rural psychedelia finale in We Gather arrives, it emphatically draws the curtains on this absorbing new world All Structures Align have created.
With Distance and Departure, All Structures Align show us how finely sculptured songcraft is done (perhaps only their Wrong Speed Records label mates, Haress, have produced something more intricate with their latest LP, Ghosts). On both Details and Drawings and Distance and Departure, All Structures Align have created songs that have been mapped-out in agonising detail, to the point where, as a listener, you’re duty bound to pay them the same amount of care and attention.
Recently we caught up with Tim, who answered our questions about both albums and the emergence of All Structures Align.
Sun 13: Prior to All Structures Align had you been making any music after Nub?
Tim Ineson: “We did a short-lived project directly after Nub, it derailed relatively quickly. We had planned to at least make different mistakes, but ended up making the same ones again. Our interactions with labels, managers etc. at that time sucked the life and fun out of music (it’s quite possible we sucked the life out of their work as well I guess). After that we didn’t do any music together for about 20 years.”
S13: Can you tell us how All Structures Align began?
TI: “At some point in 2020, Adam and I agreed to have a go at writing together again, the idea was to see if the process would be fun or not – not much more than that. We live in different parts of the country, so it was all exchanging files and lengthy phone calls etc. It was fun though and we liked what we were coming up with. Then once we had a couple of tracks taking shape, it felt like it was something we both wanted to continue to allocate time to.”
S13: From your lyrics, to your sound and even your album titles, the complete package strikes me as very meticulous. Did this project take a long time to piece together?
TI: “Yep, we definitely put the time in. We’re working on the third LP at the moment and we already have hundreds of mp3s – sketches of tracks, scrapped versions, potential section ideas etc. So we keep chipping away at them until we end up with an LP that we are happy with. Then Adam gets stuck into mixing, while I start coming up with early ideas for the next one. It’s just the way this is working, it’s time consuming but we’ve been really happy with the LPs.”
S13: Was it always the intention of releasing both albums so close together?
TI: “The first LP had a long wait for the vinyl pressing, the second one was much faster. So that meant the second LP was ready sooner than expected. I think it’s nice that they came out so close, though. We were lucky to have David Hand doing the design, working with him we were able to plan the LPs as a pair. Linking artwork, titles etc. They look great together, he did a brilliant job.”
S13: I’d say that Distance and Departure is a little more raucous, while Details and Drawings takes a little bit longer to seep into the bones. Do you see it this way?
TI: “Yep I get that completely. Details and Drawings has a warmer storytelling feel to it for me. Distance and Departure is a little more bleak perhaps, colder and has a little more edge maybe. We’re happy with how that contrast worked out. The next LP has another slight shift of feel so far.”
S13: Distance and Departure also features Neil Turpin on drums. Was his inclusion seen as shifting your sound and ideas beyond the first record?
TI: “Yep, it was pretty much that. We talked about whether adding another body to the project would push it forward or potentially collapse the whole thing. We had played gigs alongside Neil in the ’90s, but didn’t know him well – so it was an approach out of the blue. We’re thrilled that he was up for it, he did an amazing job and is working with us on the next LP.”
S13: With a track like Cylinders, I sense that politics is a thread throughout your songwriting. What would you consider to be your key ideas and themes?
TI: “The intention is that there is a sense of storytelling, each track on the first LP is a separate story, while the second LP has a single story spanning the album. Cylinders is about lifespan and end-times essentially. It’s from the viewpoint of a character who can see peoples remaining time in colours, like a faint ever-rising level gauge surrounding them (a pretty useless superpower). The character considers what they can do with this ability, but soon realise it’s not really a gift, ultimately as the waters begin to rise everyone’s level reading starts to look identical. No happy ending in that one. That theme of inaction in the face of disaster comes up quite a bit, I find it really interesting.”
S13: I also see your music as quite abstract, songs like Cable Street, Crown Rockets and We Gather feel like they stitch together a lot of ideas from vastly different places. What would you say to that?
TI: “Musically, we are trying to minimise rules when writing. So to us I guess it doesn’t feel stitched together, more of a search for what should happen next. We might try out a dozen other ideas first before we find the right one. We tend to write with a linear structure, to us ‘part B’ will have been the right next step from ‘part A’, but by the time we reach ‘part E’ the relationship with ‘part A’ may not be so obvious.”
S13: Wrong Speed have had such a big year with new releases. How did the collaboration with them come about?
TI: “We were totally out of touch with labels, bands etc., but during the lockdowns I’d come across Joe [Thompson’s] WSR Youtube interviews – probably after watching one with Kavus Torabi (who we played with regularly in the ’90s). By the time we’d finished the first LP, Joe and I had been in touch via email for a few months, he was keen to hear the LP and was totally up for releasing it. Wrong Speed have been really good for us, Joe and Chris [Summerlin] have been so encouraging. It’s a great label, you can never really be sure what’s coming next from them.”
S13: Having lived in Lincolnshire myself for fairly long period of time, your music feels to me a product of its place in so far as space, time and sound. Do you see your surroundings as an influence at all?
TI: “Adam is in Lincs, Neil in Yorks and I’m in Herts. Adam and I grew up in the country in Gloucestershire, so maybe there’s a space thing or a willingness to take time over things that relates to that, not sure really. Maybe in that situation/setting you are slightly less likely to be part of a scene or musical movement etc.”
S13: Having been around in ’90s with Nub and now All Structures Align, there’s obviously been a massive shift in the creative landscape and how we consume music. How do you see the future playing out?
TI: “I think musically we’re just doing our thing really, picking up where we left off to some degree, drawing on a lifetime’s listening, we’ve pretty much time travelled from the mid-’90s. The difference now is doing it without any expectations/pressures other than making records we are proud of. It’s so nice that a bunch of other people seem to like what we’ve come up with so far. In general I think the musical landscape seems more open, folk aren’t as tribal with their tastes as I certainly was in my youth, that’s a good thing.”
Distance and Departure and Details and Drawings are both out via Wrong Speed Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.
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