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London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Pop EDM




"Introducing: NZCA/LINES"

The Nazca Lines are more than a series of “ancient geoglyphs located in southern Peru”. They in fact share their name (albeit a different spelling – Nzca/Lines) with a musical project, brought to life by front-man-singer Michael Lovett and producer Charlie Alex March. The B-side to his first single Nazca is a testament to his forthcoming album, and is just as strong as the single itself. By combining an unnatural hip-hop beat with a joyous melange of 80s electro-synth-pop that hiccups throughout, I’m Not Strong Enough sucks you into a vortex that engulfs you in fascinating ways.
- Notion Magazine


Following on from ‘Compass Points‘, NZCA/LINES (note the slight ‘trendy’ name change) announces a new single, ‘Nazca’/'I’m Not Strong Enough’. The b-side continues from where Michael Lovett left us, all cooing falsetto and glistening synth work. But as palatial and polished as it is, there’s still an air of tension as Lovett creeps from line to line, sighing ominously “I knew you would let me down.”

"NZCA/LINES' New Video is an Ode To Trapper Keepers: Buzz Cut"

Nothing like rolling in the second day of the work week with an ear-tickling tune like NZCA/LINES' (a.k.a. Michael Lovett) "Compass Points" cued up on your music player.

We're digging his pre-puberty-like, high-pitched vocals that are laid against a playground of digital-produced beats and melodies, with an eclectic variety of sound effects thrown in the mix. This track is for sure one of the best electro pop songs we've heard this whole year.

"Compass Points" is the London-based musician's latest single from his forthcoming album that he has been working on with musical ingenues like Charlie Alex March and Ash Workman (perfect surname, right?) You may hear similarities in "Compass Points" from familiar sounding tunes by Simian Mobile Disco and Metronomy, which is mainly due in part to the fact that Workman, the man behind the mixer for this single, has also worked with these fellow, Moog-friendly musicians.

The video, directed by James Houston, looks like a moving interpretation of your first grade Trapper Keeper (which should ring bells for those who went to elementary school back in the 80s and 90s). NZCA/LINES also gets bonus points for his clean-cut fashion sense, which we really can only gather from the chest up, no thanks to the camera lens deciding to never head south nor even flash us a full body shot of this one-man band.

Let's just hope that he kept it classy and actually wore some trousers on the video set...

Feast your eyes on the music video for "Compass Points" below, and get ready to rock out with your favorite, old school stationary item out!
- Stylecaster

"New Band of the Day"

Hometown: London.

The lineup: Michael Lovett (vocals, instruments).

The background: Talk about changes of direction. The last time we heard, Michael Lovett was playing bass and singing backing vocals in a pop-rock outfit called Your Twenties. Today, he's operating as a one-man band with the avowed intention of being "our" answer to Timbaland circa Aaliyah's Try Again, with himself doing both parts – ie the quixotic production and the cooing cyborg vocals. We're deadly serious. So is Lovett: "Aaliyah is a big influence on my vocal sound," he said. "Right at the beginning, when [I was] working out how best to represent these songs, I accidentally found the a cappella for Try Again, and it blew me away. I'm a big fan of R&B in general, such as Ciara and Rihanna, because it can yield the greatest pop songs. You've got all these incredibly talented people working to create a product that's just … perfect."

It's one of those things that indie musicians have long paid lip service to – the desire to make pop as perfect as American R&B producers. Canada's Junior Boys came closest with Last Exit, their 2004 homage to the rhythmic tricksiness, starkness and sophistication of R&B (and UK garage). And Franz Ferdinand flirted with avant-funk, at least theoretically, in 2008 when they worked briefly with Britain's own dance-pop hit machine Xenomania, but they bottled it at the 11th hour and made, well, another Franz Ferdinand album. But then, it's a lot easier to bash out tracks on guitar, bass and drums than it is to collude with a studio sorcerer and create something as unearthly and strange as Try Again, which despite being 11 years old still sounds as though it was beamed in from another planet in the far-flung future.

Lovett, luckily for us, is determined to realise his ambitions. We're not sure why he's named the project after the ancient geoglyphs in the Peruvian desert, but we like his choice of collaborators: Ash Workman, producer/engineer for Simian Mobile Disco and Metronomy, and Charlie Alex March, a composer and producer whose pre-recording advice to Lovett was to put away all guitars and immerse himself in the music of Ciara and Stravinsky. You probably won't be surprised to learn that the results veer more towards the former than the latter.

The seven tracks we've heard from NZCA/Lines' 2012 debut album are pleasingly polished, recalling some of the 80s artists who successfully absorbed the influence of then-contemporary black music (notably Scritti Politti), as well as Junior Boys, and Hot Chip. We'd like to think the first single, Compass Points, is titled after the famous studios in the Bahamas where slick musicianship and rhythmic proficiency reigned, while Lovett's falsetto is at least as accomplished as Jamie Lidell's in the surrogate-Prince stakes, even if no one's going to mistake him for Ciara. Okinawa Channels moves at a Hot Chip-circa-Boy from School pace, the briskness contrasting with mournful, contemplative vocals. Work has the hi-gloss of a Jam and Lewis production, and Lovett gets the syncopated sighing just right. It's as lustrous and smooth a combination of programmed beats and "proper" musicianship as that offered by those other modern exponents of dexterous latterday jazz-funk, Jensen Sportag, on their sublime Mapquest EP. Best of all, though, is Moonlit Car Chase. Like everything Lovett does, it has a hi-falutin' concept – it's about a death pact between a cryogenically frozen couple – and a melody that won't quit. With its chilling synths, stuttering rhythms and a soulful turn from Lovett, it's one of the most formally perfect songs of the year. Not quite up there with Try Again, perhaps, but then, not even Timbaland is that good these days.

The buzz: "Lush waves of electronic sounds, heavily influenced by Aaliyah" – Dazed and Confused.

The truth: He's done power pop and glossy R&B. Next stop: Stravinsky-influenced neo-classical funk.

Most likely to: Move to the Bahamas.

Least likely to: Move to the Peruvian desert.

What to buy: Compass Points is out now. An album will be released next year by Lo Recordings.

File next to: Jensen Sportag, Toro Y Moi, Metronomy, Hot Chip.


- The Guardian

"Dazed & Confused Interview"

Named after the ancient geographical phenomena that are Nzca Lines (formerly known as Nazca Lines), Michael Lovett has been producing lush waves of electronic sounds on London's Lo Recordings, heavily influenced by the likes of Aaliyah. His new release, Compass Points, is the first single to be taken from his forthcoming album, with work from Charlie Alex March and mixed by Ash Workman (which you can hear has worked with the likes of Simian Mobile Disco, and Metronomy etc), fusing R'n'B beats and pop melodies. Check out the new video directed by James Houston.

Dazed Digital: If you had to, how would you describe your sound?
Nzca Lines: It is the last day Earth orbits our sun, but it’s hot; though some of the beaches have already turned to glass, this only provides a further dancefloor on which beautiful women, some still sipping bubbling Cristal, continue to dance. The sheer reflective gloss of this surface and the bronzed bodies upon it makes you flinch, turn away. Glancing behind you, the source of the music becomes apparent - a man wearing a ceremonial robe is placing giant chrome discs inside a huge speaker stack. As someone passes you your last glass of champagne, another Nazca Lines track stutters through the bass cones.

DD: Where do you draw your musical influences from?
Nzca Lines: Aaliyah is a big influence on my vocal sound. Right at the beginning, when we were working out how best to represent these songs, I accidently found the acapella for ‘Try Again’, and it blew me away. I had no idea she was singing so softly. I am a big fan of RnB in general, such as Ciara and Rihanna, because it can yield the greatest pop songs. You’ve got all these incredibly talented people working to create a product that’s just … perfect. Instrumental electronic music such as Ovuca, DMX Krew and Drexciya is also a big influence on the album. Drexciya’s music has a strong narrative behind it, something I have tried to create myself in the lyrics for this record. Each current Nazca Lines song sketches in different elements of a futuristic mythology, centred on New Magnetic North - an artificial set of magnetic poles - and the compasses it controls.

DD: As your latest single Compass Points was produced by Lo Recording's Charlie Alex March and mixed by Ash Workman - Did working with these experienced and established professionals change the way you make music?
Nzca Lines: Yes, pretty drastically. When I started working with Charlie I was just a fresh-faced young buck with a handful of songs and a crap computer. Cans were something baked beans came in; a mixer was what went with the Bacardi you bought at the Student Union. Now look at me. I can talk about ‘phase issues’ and the benefits of analogue synthesizers, and I know what a woman being sucked out of a piano into a space-cube sounds like. It’s been great working with Charlie and being able to mix the record with Ash was a real treat. These people were both my friends before I started working with them professionally, anyway. Are they still? Well..

DD: What are you most excited about next?
Nzca Lines: Lots of things. Releasing this record with the wonderful label LOAF, for one. The Japanese label Big Love are also releasing a Nazca Lines 7” soon, which is extremely exciting. Playing live. Making a new record (once people have actually heard this one). I’ve been working with Charlie on a project of his too, designing a machine to manually play keyboards - 'Messier 001'. It's in the prototype stage, and i’m excited about what could happen with it. Also, keep your ears open for Night Works. That’s all i’m allowed to say for the moment.

- Dazed & Confused

"The Fader / Interview"

The first time I heard Michael Lovett’s music I was shocked. Up until a year ago I knew the 24-year-old as the bassist for Your Twenties, the quite brilliant London (by way of Totnes) indie-pop troupe fronted by Lovett’s brother Gabriel Stebbing (one time bassist of Metronomy. He’s also responsible for the exclusive remix below). While Lovett is still working with Stebbing on a soon-to-be revealed new project, for the past 18 months he’s also been busy with art school while working with producer Charlie Alex March, somehow finding the time to compose a pretty much perfect (analogue) synth-pop record. (Guitars and bass are entirely absent from the equation).

Thus far he’s only released one single, “Compass Points” a heady mélange of neatly syncopated sighs, sumptuous synths, and surging falsetto harmonies. Check out Lovett’s unflinching gaze and the clean-line graphics below.

With influences that include Anton Bruckner’s motets, Ciara and The Neptunes, and authors Italo Calvino and H.P. Lovecraft, Lovett’s songs are populated with journeying characters, alternate dimension landscapes and obsessive couplings.

Each of the tracks on this album has a pretty specific narrative. It’s not very obvious because I didn’t want to make it some kind of cheesy sci-fi concept record, but the ideas came from reading a lot of Italo Calvino. Specifically Invisible Cities—it’s based on Marco Polo’s adventures. The description of each city is reduced to one distinct trait—such as, a city where the inhabitants live suspended above the ground where the city itself is supposed to be, or a city where people continually run wires and string between each house until these buildings collapse, leaving only the connections. It’s all very Italian and poetic, which got me going a few years ago but now I’m a bit more cynical.

And the track “New Magnetic North” is pretty central to the record. I came up with the phrase and the idea is that a different set of magnetic poles exist which, rather than being immovable and permanent, are periodically shifting. A map that describes places in relation to this new magnetic north would itself be as permanent as a regular map; yet as the poles move, place names on the map refer to different locations in the “real world.” The city becomes defined by qualities rather than actual buildings. It’s fantasy, but it’s about looking at the real world in a different way. I was imagining groups of people using modified compasses to hunt through “our world” for traces of these notional cities. You might end up in a field, forest or housing estate, but it’s about the sensation, not literal surroundings. You don’t get this at all from listening to the songs I imagine! But I’d like to drive it home in interviews so at least people vaguely know what’s going on.

What’s “Atoms and Axes” about? It’s about a guy trying to search for a girl he likes in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. He’s part of a small group of humans who have survived a nuclear apocalypse and he’s gone out to search for his lady friend. It’s got this kind of sexy element to it.”

It’s quite a sexy record. It’s exactly a sexy record. It’s supposed to be as sexy as possible, which considering the circumstances, isn’t very sexy. “Nazca” is the story of the guy who loves the airship and he wants to kill everyone else so he can be with the airship by himself. There’s no way you’d get this from the song, but “Moonlit Car Chase” it is supposed to be about a man and woman who make a pact that they’re going to be cryogenically frozen together and then stay young forever. But then the woman breaks the pact. The guy gets frozen and she doesn’t and she grows old. When she’s older he unfreezes and tries to hunt her down to kill her…maybe they have sex first.

But she’s really old. Oh no, that’s gross. He probably doesn’t kill her in the end. Maybe he’s just mad at her.

Because of your background in art, is it important for you to be fully involved in the live visuals and music videos? I really want it to be a holistic experience. I want people to be able to get into the ideas of the songs. Because that’s what I really love about bands. It’s all in the narrative, it’s all outside of reality. I want to have lots of visuals, a little like Cornelius maybe, really cool stuff—nice, simple ideas, well executed. I really want the video stuff to be spot on. Grimes is quite good for that. I do really love that El Guincho video “Bombay”.

That’s my favourite video of the past year. It’s that perfect mix of surreal, and humourous and sexy. Everyone in it is really beautiful even if they’re smearing an egg on their face.

So it’s important for there to be notable thread throughout? Yeah, although not to the extent that I’ll be designing everything. Rather than being dusty and slightly nerdy and sci-fi-ish it’ll be post-apocalyptic with really hot honeys.

So there are honeys in the album artwork? It’s a bit more subtle, but yeah it is actually honeys i - The Fader


May 11'
Base64 Love (Track)
Inclusion in 'Domestic Pop Deux' (Compilation)

Sep 11'
Compass Points (Single)
Radio 1 (UK) support from Nick Grimshaw, Annie Mac, Huw Stephans. Rob Da Bank and Edith Bowman.

January 12'
Okinawa Channels (Single)
Lo Recordings

January 12'
S/T (Album)
Lo Recordings



Originally conceived as a guitar based project, NZCA-LINES has been transformed into a suave, synth-pop sensation that combines pop melodies with R&B beats and lush arrangements with multi layered harmonies.
Produced by fellow LOAF/LO label-mate Charlie Alex March and mixed by Ash Workman (Simian Mobile Disco Club, Metronomy etc), together with main man Michael Lovett they’ve created one of the years most thrilling debut albums.

From the opening bars it’s clear that there’s a unique and beautiful talent at work. Something about the clarity of the arrangements, the crisp harmonies and insidious melodies that sets it apart from other releases.

Shimmering slices of dream pop the like of which have not been heard since Scritti Politti’s ‘Cupid & Psyche’ , follow one after another to create a future world rooted in timeless magic.

It’s partly that timeless quality that makes the music feel so good (a lineage that stretches back to the Beach Boys, check the barbershop harmonies that make up ‘AM Travel Interlude’) and partly the exhilaration you feel as you zoom into the future taking in The Neptunes, Junior Boys, Timbaland and Bogdan Raczynski along the way.

In the same way that the great Nazca Lines of Peru from which NZCA LINES take their name, can only be perceived from high above, so the music of NZCA LINES can only be taken in gradually, such is its scope and depth.

Think of it as a musical teleportation system beaming sounds and vibrations from different eras into the present whilst at the same time projecting them into the future.

There’s already been significant press attention with features in Dazed, The Guardian and NME and there’s now a fully focused live show which encompasses a drummer and bassist, leaving Michael free to emote in style.

NZCA LINES tomorrow is yours.