Handle with care. The flickering, mesmeric sonics of The Naked Flame are deceptively deadly and could burn their way indelibly into your affections. Hailing from the sleepy streets of Norwich but sounding like it's been uploaded from the hive mind of some future android race with a John Carpenter fixation, these icy beats with a pumping heart of melodic emotion are actually the work of Edward Knights.
Check out 'The Saddest Outcome' from his 'Fresh Start' EP, and the chattering, skittering dubstep beats immediately enrapture, but the mega synths that beam in and harness our synaptic responses are like some love-in between Kraftwerk and Vangelis, or Planet Mu dons like Starkey and Kuedo in retro-future mode. 'A Heartfelt Farewell' is reminiscent of something from Italians Do It Better crew Chromatics, its mournful guitar figure and soaring synth pads concealing a menacing undercurrent.
Despite the evident influences, Ed's melodic sense is what shines through, a melancholy gift for song structure that stands head and shoulders above much electronic music today. He cites several of the melodic giants as his most inspirational artists and it's clearly that quality which he loves about them.
“People like Orbital, Depeche Mode, Madonna is in there!” grins Ed. “The biggest probably is Archive. I can never forget Zero 7 and there's definitely a lot of '90s trip-hop. Kraftwerk, but I didn't get into them until later on. Nowadays, Ikonika, Com Truise, Daft Punk, and with my newer stuff, Chromeo I really love.
“I don't mind having something catchy stuck in my head for a while,” he continues. “I don't mind humming or whistling it. The best elements for me are the nice instruments, the pianos, the synths, I don't really want sirens. I don't find that I necessarily sing the lyrics to songs, it's just nice to remember basslines, like you can definitely talk about Air's 'Moon Safari'. Some of the melodies in there are so memorable but so simple. An iconic album, it's massively influenced me.”
Having studied music & technology at the University of East Anglia, he turned to making his own music as a kind of antidote to the more staid and esoteric subject matter of his course. He's less interested in full-on club fodder, describing his sound as “more for the heart and mind and soul rather than the feet”, but his forthcoming EP is possibly the most overtly uptempo thing he's done.
Packing in everything from dark old school electro — think Dopplereffekt or Drexciya with gigantic trance riffs — to dub-soaked grooves and even smoothed-out '80s boogie, it should get his name on the lips of more heads. The next step, naturally, is an album, something which Ed believes is still important today despite its faded status in the era of instant gratification.
“I want to bring it back,” he states. “I want it to be more important, I want the album to actually work as an album, an hour's worth of music that people can just immerse themselves in, where they don't want to skip any tracks. I want it to work really well from start to finish. Regardless of whether it's a physical format or a digital format I think people need to get back and embrace the concept of the album.”
Currently unsigned, you can get hold of The Naked Flame's music at his Bandcamp page or check it out via his Soundcloud and Google Plus pages. Somebody snap this guy up — get it while it's hot!
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