NAWKSH’s latest album is viscerally lonely and stubbornly private
NAWKSH ’s latest LP is lonely, dark and fiercely private.
‘And even if you called my name, even if you called NAWKSH…I’d lock the door’. That’s the main refrain on the penultimate track of NO NEED TO HIDE WHEN IT’S DARK OUTSIDE, and sums up the determined introversion of the album. The listening experience itself is challenging. There is the constant feeling that you’re intruding, knocking on a locked door – this person really just wants to be left the fuck alone.
But on this difficult record, NAWKSH is capable of creating deeply evocative sounds, stuff that is viscerally lonely, or beautifully warm, or even (in his very best tracks) both at the same time. At other times, he resembles a child staring at an instrument, bewildered by the sounds coming out of it. That’s not a criticism – in many ways it’s this experimentation that makes his music so interesting.
‘LUMINOUS CORRIDOR’ is probably the most obvious example of this. It’s a four minute looping melody and, as the track ends, having essentially ‘gone nowhere’, it’s unclear what we’re meant to make of it. Repetition is one of the most striking features of minimalism, with composers experimenting with small changes in tempo or individual notes. And while NAWKSH does this on tracks like ‘ALGAE KOMOREBI’, shifting phase and tinkering with our expectations, on ‘LUMINOUS CORRIDOR’ the melody stretches out like a hallway on a dolly zoom, any closure constantly kept out of reach until a slow fade out. It’s cuts like these that feel helpless rather than exploratory.
The best tracks on this record come from NAWKSH stepping outside this helpless inertia. ‘LEAVE U BEHIND’ is up there with some of his most emotionally moving work; a lush layering of sound and melody that awkwardly but endearingly trips over itself as it unfurls out of the repetition of ‘WE’RE SO SORRY VIOLETA’. ‘TREEHOUSE’, too, features some meticulous sounds and feels organic in the way it shifts in structure. These moments are all the more rewarding because of the swampy repetition you wade through to get to them.
After telling us that he’d lock the door on ‘CALL NAWKSH’, the next and last track ‘LUNCHBOX’ features frenetic basslines and percussion. It’s difficult not to bob your head to it – it’s strange but earwormy and oddly dance-friendly. There’s a maniacal laugh thrown in there too. NAWKSH might be stubbornly private but behind that locked door, there’s a party.
You can support the artist by buying the album on Bandcamp. It’s ‘name your price’ so you don’t even have to pay anything! Although would be good if you did imo.
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