Posted on April 30 2021
New album from the French post-punk/krautrock trio Veik is out today
We're incredibly excited to share 'Surrounding Structures', the debut album from Veik which is out in the world today! Centred around vintage analogue synths and abrasive instrumentation, the band’s experimental post-punk is rooted in the 70s avant-garde, most notably Krautrock and No Wave. They reel off groups like Implog, Suicide or Indoor Life as inspirations, whilst existing in a similar world to contemporaries like Beak>, Suuns and Girl Band. The album arrives off the back of a handful of EPs and singles, tours around Europe and shows with the likes of The Soft Moon, Tomaga and Vanishing Twin. You can stream 'Surrounding Structures' below and buy the vinyl here.
Talking about ‘Surrounding Structures’, they say that “The writing of the album was heavily influenced by architectural environments. We made a lot of detours when touring in 2017 and 2018 to visit modernist and brutalist buildings in France, Germany and Belgium (which caused us many delays for soundchecks.)” Listening to the album, it’s quickly clear how the disjointed shapes and abrasive textures of brutalist architecture are manifested in their music. However, they claim that the ‘Surrounding Structures’ of the album’s title are also a reference to both the “physical and social structures that surround us, and how they shape us as individuals and collectives.”
Veik explain that ‘Surrounding Structures’ “is not a political album per se, but a way to address that question from different scales of observation, by telling stories and by integrating our own experiences and reflections into our sound.” On album-opener ‘Difficult Machinery’ – a detached proto-punk drone nodding to Faust by way of The Velvet Underground – we find a perfect example of the band using personal experience to wax philosophical. The lyrics coming to drummer and vocalist Boris Collet after watching his dad ill in a hospital bed: “Seeing him weakened and plugged into banks of machines through cables that radiated from his body was a weird experience. This concept of ‘difficult machinery’ made sense to emphasise the mind-body dualism through the metaphor of the body as a machine.”
Elsewhere, the discordant motorik noise-rock of ‘Singularism’ is described “a critique of individualism, self-satisfaction and personal fulfilment. It's also a reflection on the ‘creative self’ building on Oscar Wilde's quote that ‘Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.’” Then there’s the hypnotic ‘Life Is A Time Consuming Experience’, another song tackling the underlying ills of the human condition and how it’s shaped by external pressures. “I like to think of this title as dadaist. The track is constructed as a timescale; a tale of a hopeless quest for pointless achievements in life,” Collet explains
The most overtly political song on ‘Surrounding Structures’ is undoubtedly ‘Political Apathy’ – a track marked by sticky synthesiser sequences, biting post-punk guitars and a doubling-up of drum machine and live drums in a similar vein to Cavern of Anti-Matter. Inspired by the socio-political unrest that has unfolded in France in recent years, Collet explains that “Political Apathy tells the story of a guy at home who observes a dissonance between his beliefs (or at least what he thinks his beliefs are) and their lack of concrete implementation and action. Implicit in the song are the Yellow Vest protests in France, which the character in question watches from his window. It’s not a protest song, it’s an introspective awakening song for indolent people.”
Throughout the album, Veik masterfully blur the boundaries and conventions of electronic and rock music. ‘Honesty (I Don’t Wanna Know)’, for example, is a piece of primal synth-punk: “This is influenced by Suicide and Alan Vega but we wanted it to sound organic so we recorded some raging drums throbbing in the background.” ‘Château Guitar’ is their attempt to recreate “the codes, conventions and structures of techno music” using their live set-up of synths, drums and guitar: fusing a heavy four-to-the-floor pulse with screeching feedback and distorted guitars. Similar in intent, ‘Downside (I Wanna Know)’ sees a heavy synth bass-line paired with razor-sharp Gang of Four-esque guitars.