A track by track guide...

The question of nationhood, of collective identity seems to linger more strongly than ever.

In Scotland, the independence movement is gaining more and more prominence, raising fundamental questions about the future of the UK. It's somewhat striking, then, that a duo emerge from South Wales named Man Without Country.

Tomas Greenhalf and Ryan James have been working under the moniker since 2011, fusing dark bursts of electronics with some illusive, difficult to decipher lyrics.

Working with famed producer Ken Thomas, debut album 'Foe' is set to be released on June 4th. Musically, the duo settle for cold tones - with plenty of Italo influences and bass flushes - while the lyrics are full of doubt, regret and other juicy morsels.

Out on June 4th, ClashMusic asked the duo for a track-by-track guide to their debut album.

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Foe
We wanted to open the album with a bold introduction. 'Foe' is like the prologue. It establishes the theme and prepares you for what is to come. The lyrics are very direct and are conveyed using computerised spoken word software. We produced the music using multiple layers of analog and digital synthesisers, distant vocals, and live drums.

Puppets
Puppets is the first single from the album. We have a penchant for big, poppy choruses and we didn't really try to hide that influence in this particular track. The song features live breakbeats, rhythmic and arpeggiated synths, and heavily delayed guitars. The lyrics are inspired by religious upbringing and oppression, and it's probably one of the more graspable and objective songs on the album.

Clipped Wings
The initial idea for Clipped Wings stemmed from a simple chord pattern which we played around with for a while in our rehearsal room. We roughly recorded ourselves jamming it out as a band, adding clean guitars and a hip hop inspired drum loop. Later, we dissected the audio at home and reworked the track, adding rhythmic synthesisers, layered drums, pianos and additional vocal harmonies. We believe the key to the success of Clipped Wings is its unlikely combination of warm and uplifting music with cynical lyrics.

King Complex
King Complex is the title track to our 2011 debut EP. The song gives a good summary of the band. It contains an ambient opening passage, powerful choruses, and a euphoric, dramatic ending. The lyrics were inspired by a combination of personal experiences and the false importance of inane celebrity culture.

Ebb & Flow
Ebb & Flow is a purely home-studio written composition. We experimented by pitch-shifting, reversing and finely cutting various samples to produce an elaborate glitch rhythm, which is held together by a four to the floor kick drum pattern. We later added atmospheric pads, distorted bass, and delicate vocals. The track also features a spoken word interlude using the same voice synthesiser as the opening track.

Iceberg
This is one of those songs that you end up recording several different versions of before settling on the final composition. We knew there was something special about the relationship between the lyrics and the chord progression so we experimented with the instrumentation for a while. We struggled for ideas for quite some time until we found an interesting bass sound on a Nord Lead 2. The sound was comprised of two oscillating waveforms around 3 octaves apart from each other playing the same rhythm. We later added live upright piano and drums which we recorded at a local studio. Lyrically, another one of the more graspable songs, although more subjective in this case. We'd like to believe that anyone who has been betrayed within a relationship will find some sort of sinister comfort listening to this song.

Closet Addicts Anonymous
This is another song which has been through a number of transitions. We released an early version of Closet Addicts Anonymous via the 12th edition of Kitsuné Maison compilations back in November 2011. Since then we have re-produced the track using additional drum layers, synths and vocal harmonies. The idea for the song quite simply emerged from the one-note baseline which you hear prominently in the verses. We had it on a loop in our rehearsal room, whilst playing around with a drum machine and guitar effects pedals. At first we didn't think it was going to develop into anything more than an endless, almost psychedelic jam. After we introduced fresh chords a chorus emerged and we knew we were onto something special. The song will be our next single released in June and we're very excited to share the brand new video directed by Lucy Dyson and Joseph Jensen very soon.

Migrating Clay Pigeon
This is the heaviest and darkest track on the album and it's one of our favourites to play live. We wrote this song quite selfishly, in the sense that we gave ourselves no boundaries and we didn't really care if nobody liked it. The song began as a simple tribal beat which we recorded using a multitude of kick drums, floor toms, taiko drums, snares, claps, and drum machine layers. The saw-wave synth chords create an unusual and unexpected feeling of uneasiness by introducing major-key chords into a very minor sounding verse.

Parity
Parity is very much the "calm after the storm" track. We intentionally wrote this song to come after Migrating Clay Pigeon as we felt that the album needed room to breathe here. The track features a continuous low pass filtered white noise synth loop which digitally emulates the sound of the sea and creates a sense of calm throughout the track. We're big fans of Brian Eno and on this track in particular this influence is very recognisable. The song also features the robotic voice from 'Foe' and 'Ebb & Flow' which gives the lyrics a cold and emotionless feel.

Inflammable Heart
Inflammable Heart begun life as a simple dance kick rhythm which continues throughout the track. Layers of arpeggiators and synth sounds are continuously added every repetition, creating an escalation. We initially found it very difficult to create the sudden impact we were looking for in the heavy section. After experimenting with different sounds and listening to techno and big-production pop music we had a revelation whilst listening to Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'. It soon became clear that we were missing a heavily distorted, and very prominent kick drum to give the song the power required. Once this foundation was laid we added layers of distorted and filter modulated basses to complete the intensity, closing the album on a crescendo.

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'Foe' is set to be released on June 4th.
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