Caroline K – “Now Wait For Last Year” Album (Reissue) Review (ambient/experimental)

Now Wait For Last Year

I have to wonder, wherever Caroline’s spirit is now, if she realizes how the one solo album she did publish now sounds like it was ahead of its time.  Moreover, it’s the kind of album that is often imitated but rarely duplicated.  Our offering today is Now Wait For Last Year from Caroline K-a reissue from Old Captain Records.  

Caroline K passed away tragically in 2008.  She was one of the founders of the sound/art project, Nocturnal Emissions.

30 years after its initial release in 1987, Old Captain Records has the distinct honor of re-releasing this recording, Now Wait For Last Year properly on CD.

From Bandcamp: “She was unique. Long time before sampling took hold, Caroline had 4-track loops, proper innovation. A bit insecure, had to be in a band to begin, but when she got on her own, I honestly think her material is up with the best classical musicians, with rock’n’roll – just listen.” – Danny Ayers, Nocturnal Emission

Now Wait For Last Year having been released in 1987 was indeed ahead of its time.  It really makes for an intriguing listen because of the elements that have carried on through today as well as the experimentation with the samples (especially in the track “Chearth”).  But here Caroline K  really broke down somewhat minimalist analog synth music to its bare elements.  A piece such as the 20 minute “The Happening World” shows dark ambient and drone music really well before “dark ambient” and “drone” is what we know of today.  The magic of this piece exists in how the extended lengthy notes taper off gradually and melt into those that rise and really create some of their own notes in the process.  For an acoustic example of this, see some of the piano work of Charlamange Palestine.

“Animal Lattice” is a haunting track that experiments with a juxtaposition of very high and very low notes and some sporadic manipulated background female vocals.  At times it almost feels like an extremely early Dead Can Dance demo.  “Between The Spaces (parts 1 & 2)” are tracks that vary slightly in feel from a very new age demo sound to almost a dungeon synth atmosphere whereas part 3 has more of a combination of a classical piano & ethereal vibe.  At moments such as in “Between The Spaces Part 3” as well as in “Leaving” we can hear Caroline experiment with background noises/found sounds including one that sounds a bit like a wave.

Now Wait For Last Year is really a piece of work that should have been more influential than it became.  Its raw and primitive elements are like those which eventually were employed by many artists from ambient to new wave to ebm today.  It is haunting in many parts and sad in some, especially when you think about what more Caroline K might have done on her own.  But without question, this album should be listened to by purists interested in ambient, dark ambient, new age and really electronic music fans in general.  Now Wait For Last Year is the likes of where it all began.


Now Wait For Last Year is limited to 300 copies in a 4-panel digipack CD from Old Captain Records.  It is also available as a digital download.

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