HOW TO BREATHE
"Falling Out Of Buildings"
Directed by James Medcraft
Richard Pike is a composer, vocalist, and producer who's new release is How To Breathe, a 'lost album' that took shape during a period of great change.
He is known as one of the founders of PVT (Warp Records, Felte US), the pioneering electronic trio, his ambient pseudonym Deep Learning, and founder of London tape label Salmon Universe.
An Australian in London, he felt the creeping ache of distance from across the world. “The album process was elemental, simple,” Richard says of the recording. “Lo-fi but elegant”. The lyrics of the immersive title track give a hint to his thinking: “When you leave your hometown, you gotta re-learn how to speak....When you leave the atmosphere, you gotta re-learn how to breathe.” The result is an album of bubbling analog nostalgia and richness, of wonky drums, and a voice which searches an almost absurd inner monologue.
The recordings began over 7 years ago, as a collaboration with Stella Mozgawa, the drummer from Warpaint, and was recorded in London, Sydney and Los Angeles, during a tour together. The songs were later mixed by producer Ben Hillier (Depeche Mode, Blur, Nadine Shah).
Richard tried to grasp what he calls a “zen approach to sound, and not labouring anything”, but also wanted to touch upon “something cosmic” which in this case means plenty of nostalgic analogue synths, idiosyncratic drum takes and intimate vocals. How to Breathe opens with Falling out of Buildings, a seductive contemplation about making sense of change, coupled with an absurdist video based around planking and fruit. It then moves on to songs like Flicker of Light, Don’t Hide in Your Heart Tonight – as well as MH370, an improvised ambient meditation finding peace with some unlikely source material. Golden Hours is a song exploring rejection and political power play, mixed by Norwich producer Luke Abbott.
The fastest track, the fever-dream of Memory Circa, is a kind of metaphysical exploration featuring collaboration with Brighton dance producer Ital Tek.
“The songs generally are about the void,” Richard says. “The unremarkable places you pass on the street. The big city looking down at you. It’s about the spirit of a place, the way it talks to you."
He settled upon the artwork by the incredible Nicholas Law, as it seemed to be a perfect representation of change and mutability. "Something you thought was solid could unexpectedly melt away before you. But it's essentially the same raw material. It's just mutated... and you have to deal with it.”
Richard Pike was nominated for an AACTA award in 2018 for his first TV score for Romper Stomper (Stan TV, BBC Three). He has toured with PVT supporting Arctic Monkeys, Gary Numan, Warpaint, Sigur Ros and Gotye. Richard has also worked on sound design for London innovators United Visual Artists and artist Mel O'Callaghan.