Test Card is the new musical project of Canada-based Brit Lee Nicholson. Nicholson has previously spent time in Preston’s Formula One and Brighton’s Domestic4. By mixing ambient synths, guitars, drum machine samples and field recordings on Start Up Close Down, Nicholson creates comforting, dreamy and evocative music. This is the third release in a series called CLR for Japanese label Symbolic Interaction.
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Former singer with Preston indie-poppers Formula One, Lee Nicholson has moved to Vancouver and now records dreamy instrumental music in his new Canadian home. It seems to have been a wise move, as his latest cd under the Test Card moniker is as woozily evocative as Christian Fennesz sipping ice tea on the porch on a balmy summer’s afternoon. Which, as far away psychologically and geographically as that prospect is from the grey and freezing reality of the Towers today, is a seductive one.
Start Up Close Down is full to the brim with clear, blue-skied electronica and guitar. Ambient synths form the gently melodic framework for Nicholson’s picked and reverb-drenched miniature guitar figures, these instruments often draped lightly over one another as coats of varnish. ‘Porpoise Bay 72’ and ‘A Great Solution Centre’ are two examples of tracks -- at the slowly beating heart of this cd -- that will have you unavoidably picturing crystal clear waters at a mythical lake in July as you eat an ice cream. Floaty synth gently hums in tandem with cyclical Durutti-like guitar. All very harmonically and melodically pleasing. The lilting factor is raised still further to Pacific Island territory on ‘Wah My Valley’. Perfect.
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