Music Portrait | posted 10.09.2020
Melody As Truth
On the threshold of sound and silence
With his label Melody As Truth, Jonny Nash moves between balearic and ambient. The journey leads from new age to a new art of world chamber music.
Text Harry Schmidt , Translation Sebastian Hinz
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You can find the Vinyl Records released on Melody As Truth in the HHV Records webshop.


»Having more control over my output, the direction policy, the distribution channels and the artwork« were the main reasons for launching his own label Melody As Truth in 2014, says Jonny Nash. Projects such as Discossession, Kham Lingtsang Band and Spirit Bear Mezcal Ensemble, the duos Land Of Light (with Kyle Martin) and Sombrero Galaxy (with Tako Reyenga), as well as remixes for acts like Cos/Mes or Seahawks with releases on relevant imprints such as Lovefingers ESP Institute or the Japanese club music institution Crue-L Records had given Nash a name as leading producer in the balearic and nu-disco scene. Accordingly, at the beginning of Melody As Truth he had hardly any other ambitions than to have an independent platform for his own productions. This narrow focus has changed through the acquaintance of Diego Herrera, whose ambient album »Talk From Home« as Suzanne Kraft was the first MAT release that did not come from Nash’s studio and is the most successful release of the label to this day. A close artistic collaboration has now developed from this: around a third of the MAT catalog is due to their duo. At the same time as he moved to Amsterdam in 2017, Nash was also opening the MAT roster to other producers: The following are records by the French producer Dang-Khoa Chau alias DK, the Danish DJ Natal Zaks under the pseudonym Palta and by Rory Glacken from Melbourne as Tourist Kid, also a longplayer by Nash with ambient legend Gigi Masin (»a personal milestone«) and another Land-Of-Light album. Currently, however, the tendency is again to concentrate on productions by him and Herrera, Nash admits.

»Free improvisation and improvised melodies create a direct communication of what you want to express – this spontaneity has an element of beauty and truth in it.« (Jonny Nash)

Some of his musical preferences are manifested in the name of his label, especially those for improvised harmonic structures: »I’ve always had melodies in my head above all. Free improvisation and improvised melodies create a direct communication of what you want to express – this spontaneity has an element of beauty and truth in it«, explains the producer and label owner, who was born in 1981, grew up in Edinburgh and moved to London at the age of 18. He sees the common denominator of his releases as »working on the threshold between sound and silence«, Nash points out, describing the profile of his label, »an exploration of space and timing«. It is no coincidence that the aesthetic appearance of most MAT records, in many cases designed by Michael Willis, is reminiscent of that of ECM: Also for Manfred Eicher’s label, which Nash alongside with Music From Memory, the imprint of Jamie Tiller and Tako Reyenga, good friends of Nash, with whom he is in lively exchange, openly mentions as a main aesthetic influence and a great source of inspiration, exploring the creation of sound out of silence has been the decisive model for decades.

A phase in which he was mainly interested in digital means of production is now followed by one of the more intensive preoccupations with acoustic sound sources and recording methods: »I wouldn’t say that I’m no longer interested in electronic music, but currently I’m really fascinated by working with real microphones and natural reverb and space«, says Nash, describing his artistic development. Although socialized in club culture, DJ sets are becoming increasingly less important for him. More defining for MAT is what he calls »digging culture«, and over the years his focus has shifted from cosmic disco to new age to organic acoustics, says Nash, who also spent a year and a half in Asia and studied the Hindi language. Nevertheless, even if the importance of digital distribution channels is constantly increasing, it is still very important to him that most MAT releases also appear on vinyl. At the moment he is mainly devoting himself to pre-baroque chamber music or Eastern European folk. In addition to old music, however, new music also had a great influence on him, says Nash and names the composers Morton Feldman and John Luther Adams. His all-time favs include The Blue Nile’s »Hats«, Talk Talk’s »Laughing Stock« and the solo album by Mark Hollis. On MAT, however, the next release will be a long player by Nash with the Indonesian musician Teguh Permana, who plays with the group Tarawangsawelas. 21 releases in six years may not seem like much, but: »I’m living my dream – even if at the turtle’s pace!«, Nash sums up laughing.


You can find the Vinyl Records released on Melody As Truth in the HHV Records webshop.

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