Squid Share a Playlist to Soundtrack De-Industrialization
Their debut album Bright Green Field is out tomorrow via Warp.
Squid has been on the rise for years. The group of five—Louis Borlase, Oliver Judge, Arthur Leadbetter, Laurie Nankivell and Anton Pearson—has made a roaring and intriguing impression since forming in 2015, and have been dropping singles and EPs filled with kraut-jazz, post-punk, languid prog-rock, and even spoken word. Tomorrow, they’re finally releasing their debut album Bright Green Field on Warp Records, and it’s filled with the same sort of fervor and surreality.
Bright Green Field is a tangle of gelatinous, succulent limbs like the animal the band share a name with. Songs wind and quiver for up to eight minutes, but don’t ever feel tedious. It feels scenic—and that’s exactly where the inspiration for the full-length came from: “This album has created an imaginary cityscape,” Judge has said of the release. The group collaborated with a shared ideas and influences folder that soon amassed sci-fi and cyberspace references. “Although this city is not a real place and exists in the imaginary and cyber spheres, it borrows clear characteristics from the real world we live in,” he said. “A kind of dystopian British cityscape.”
“Losing my flow / And my memories are so unnatural,” Judge sings on “Narrator.” The rapid guitar work and the combustion of brass lend these tracks to being in constant motion, in unending violence. The viciousness of it all is where Bright Green Field bleeds into reality. “Watch your favorite war on TV / Just before you go to sleep / And then your favorite sitcom,” goes one line on “Global Groove.” It’s unsettling how representative Squid capture society’s ways of compartmentalizing violence and entertainment; they sit side by side in our heads.
For the playlist Squid put together for us, they ran with the self-imposed prompt: “Walking through the countryside into the middle of the city, over the course of thousands and thousands of years. Past the trunks of the first shyly waving beeches and through industrialization—and the rapidly de-industrializing city.” Listen to the playlist below and check out their new album here.
Richard Thompson, “Beeswing”
Conjures up memories of time spent on the Gower in summer.
Led Zeppelin, “The Battle of Evermore”
This song has a pastoral feeling that transports me straight to Middle Earth.
Rufige Kru, “Ghosts of My Life”
Jungle music is the sound of the city and excites something that no other style can.
James Blake, “Air and Lack Thereof”
A throwback to my formative years growing up in London.
Shirley Collins and Davy Graham, “Hares on the Mountain”
Is there a voice more conducive with pastures clean than Shirley Collins? This is a master-strike of human imagination, embodying people through various animalistic forms: in the bushes and on the hillside.
Meredith Monk and Collin Wallcott, “Cow Song”
An ambling, wordless vocal becomes atuned with walking across endless open fields. Some drystone walls need crossing, but the plain is vast.
Roberto Auser, “Gentrified”
Roberto Auser’s 2021 album Second Sun denotes a city place that breathes like we do. “Gentrified” is a highlight that denotes sordid scenes of a changing city.
Richard & Linda Thompson, “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight”
As a kid this was always the CD in the car that me and my sister wanted off. Nowadays this song sounds like the feeling you have before a big night out. One where you know you might start out in one place and end up in another.
Caroline Shaw, “Plan & Elevation v. the Beech Tree”
A piece that feels both timeless and modern, that drops you in a place between overwhelming joy and sadness in a way that only music can. This whole album is amazing; the string quartet is not dead.
Tinariwen, “Ténéré Tàqqàl”
Tinariwen reflect on their Saharan home and lament the changes its tragic modern history have brought.
Lisa O’Neill, “Lullaby of London”
Even people in London have to sleep. This track reminds us of that unique relaxing feeling of being tucked up in bed in a city listening to the incoherent bustle of people outside.
Orla Wren, “Tugboats and Railroads”
Orla Wren helps us float around the city’s complex transport networks in a cloudy bubble.
Human League, “Empire State Human”
This is a track about the fusion of the body and the city. My goodness, imagine being at tall as the Empire State Building. It doesn’t bare thinking about.
These New Puritans, “Field of Reeds”
This song features Adrian Peacock, who has the lowest known singing voice in Britain. It’s pretty intense but very beautiful, much like an actual Field of Reeds. Watch out for snakes.
Ivor Cutler, “I’m walking to a farm”
One of the most simple, refreshingly honest yet hilarious ditties about walking to a farm by the fantastic songwriter that was Ivor Cutler.
Kaputt, “Drinking Problems Continue Pt. 2”
A song that’s always made me think of Glasgow.