Other Music Featured Pick
: A mysterious duo hailing from the depths of Bushwick, Brooklyn, Nihiti has been kicking around the self-released, Internet-ready circles that many private artists must follow in this day and age.
With Other Peoples' Memories, the group's most "public" effort and first vinyl side to date, a challenge has been thrown down to all project bands in the vicinity to top the careful construction and constantly shifting template of their sound, as well as the high fidelity and nuanced environment this music engenders. Best pegged as avant-garde pop, Nihiti's M. O. relies on the coexistence of electronic music with acoustic instruments to create a sound that is alternately tense, foreboding, and intricate in the most intriguing ways. Like some unearthed pallet of lost, meaningful art-rock from NMDS circa 1985, Nihiti plays to the mood through ingenious and avant-garde means, culminating in a suite of songs on side 1 that builds a dour, mechanical carapace of clockwork dread and malaise, through little more than piano, drums, strings and digital treatments. Nihiti's music can get excessively dark, as well as ferociously danceable within a single pendulum swing, and though it takes a bit of work to understand where it's coming from, most of the best things in life follow that path anyway. A cerebral effort in line with This Heat, late-period Talk Talk, Gastr del Sol, and other heavy hitters of recent decades, and a group that is worth the considerable effort to investigate. A beautiful cover design completes the package. Put this one on and watch your productivity skyrocket!.
: We know pretty much nothing about these guys, other than they're from New York, their live shows are tripped out and psychedelic-light heavy, and more importantly, they make some awesome electro synth-wave abstract downer pop.
Equal parts, haunting Witch House-y brood, block rockin' beats, and lo-fi home brewed electronica, Nihiti meld simple skeletal beats to pulsing fuzzy melodies, letting the tracks lock and loop, before crumbling and decaying and gradually transforming into something way more abstract.
The record opens with "Vulture Mentality", which takes minimal high end guitar strum, loops it, and lets it drift beneath a thick throbbing wave of crunchy distorted guitar, all wound around a super skittery barely there beat, which eventually drops out, leaving just that haunting guitar refrain. Perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the record, mysterious, ominous, otherworldly, claustrophobic, the sound cinematic and soundtracky. "No Angel Came" takes some Coldplay like piano, loops it, adds some chugging fuzz guitar, some post rocky drums, and layers various melodies over the top, making the whole thing wonderfully woozy and off kilter. "Mighty Neon Fragment" is all twisted minimal pop, slightly atonal and detuned, wrapped around a simple stuttery beat, and pounded piano chords. "The Ringing In (The Sun Is Rung)" is about as close as these guys get to a pop song, swoonsome vocals over rubbery bass, and muddy muted melodies, sort of funky drumming and out of tune piano, everything panned super hard so different sounds come from different speakers. . .
But it's "Black Cars (A Sinistra)"that might be THEE jam here, with it's minimal electro pulse, its stuttery synthy rhythms, all over a spare skeletal groove, pulsing and pounding, like a super lo-fi, way more minimal Basement Jaxx or Chemical Brothers. And the rest of the record stacks up just as well. Tripped out, groovy, abstract, druggy, rhythmic, synthy and spacey. . .
We weren't sure what to think when we first laid our ears on this, but it's quickly becoming a new favorite. Anyone into Balam Acab, oOoOO, How To Dress Well, Salem, Water Borders, Von Haze, Fuck Buttons, Small Black, Washed Out and all that sort of electronic weirdness, check this out.
: Nihiti’s album, ‘Other People’s Memories’ (out on vinyl in October) is a luxurious excursion across dazzling dreamscapes, an amalgam of progressive rock, non poh faced IDM, and playful experimentalism which make you feel like you were somewhere else without being in between places, it must be the stickiness of that bass rumbling like Deerhunter in some seriously abstract trip, it must be these guys’ experience producing soundtracks.
Check out Endless Runner as it crashes glorious through the dimensions like some non-creepy triumph of alien will, shedding genetic memories on its wake that sound like pianos, the jettisoning of layers reveal, as it reaches the final sprint, the taut musculature of a techno dancer. It can’t win, because it is alone.
Killed in Cars
: Nihiti takes a wide stylistic path on Other People’s Memories.
There are elements of experimental music, ambient, industrial and pop, played on acoustic instruments, rock instruments, and synths/samplers/drum machines/computers.
While that might sound like it has the potential to be very unfocused, it is a very cohesive album: Nihiti mostly employs their ample resources toward creating very dark atmospheres. But I think what makes this album so interesting is how those vibes are sustained through so many stylistic variations: the first few tracks had me thinking the band was on a Godspeed/krautrock/electronic bent, but the third track introduces some 8th note-based piano chord stabs so popular in 60s pop songs, ultimately serving as the introduction to an actual pop song in the fourth track, “the ringing in (the sun is rung). ” But it’s still a very weird form of pop, repeatedly overwhelming itself by bringing different instruments out of proportion in the mix. And the ride continues, through passages blending melancholy cello lines with piano and sine waves, more pop songforms, and ultimately an impressive blend of postrock and krautrock textures with early industrial-sounding beats. This record is largely instrumental, but occasional vocal passages are weaved beautifully into the variety of textures. I found it difficult to make out lyrics, as they’re generally mixed relatively low, treated as another instrumental voice. But the few sections I could make out clearly, like the spoken moments in the center of “the return of kind ropes (laku noc, dusan k)”, seemed fairly bleak and melancholy, a fitting supplement to the music. This is the kind of music that you have to live with for a while and let it take effect, but it will definitely find itself on return trips to my turntable.
Insound Band of the Week
: NEW BAND OF THE WEEK! Insound staffers seek out new music constantly.
Between the hundreds of music submissions we get per week and the new bands and labels we're always reaching out to, we stumble upon some really great stuff. Each week, we will be picking one lesser-known band that we particularly love. This week, Rich judges a record by its cover and wins with Nihiti.
Minimalism always gets me every single time, especially in design. The right cover comes home with me despite what the music may sound like … and if that doesn't make me seem shallow then I don't know what else will. Yet, in all honesty and despite how implied dating expectations may go, I find more often than not that the aesthetic is frequently in place in the visual presentation as it is in the music itself, especially as humans evolve themselves into a less one-tracked existence.
Nihiti is one that sold itself in looks before I even played a single song. The cover consists of a series of strange ultra-minimalist paintings in three colors implying an almost genuine (and appropriately so) 80s new-wave-esque undertone. Which, while musically, I couldn’t say they'd fit in the nu-new-wave, cold-wave, dark-wave, neo-goth categor(y)ies so simply, they certainly are dark, that is the best word to link, piece by piece, the meanderings of this album.
Goth could almost be an appropriate term, but where poster child Cold Cave and even a lot of the, now burgeoning on cliche, cold-wave acts of Wierd records more steadily move forward into realms of socially acceptable post-noise nostalgia ventures, Nihiti chooses to walk heel-toe, broad shouldered, face forward, and very adamantly away from it all … completely disassembling the structural elements of this seemingly paint-by-numbers pseudo-genre and very, very genuinely and very, very creatively forcing something new to exist.
The instrument palette is always changing, using everything from hand drums to drum machines, violins to controlled feedback. Vocals, sparsely humanize occasional tracks, and utterly avoid it in most others. Song structures weave from straight up danceable near-goth anthems, to completely disassembled and almost entirely heartbreaking ambient pieces. With absolutely beautiful airy reverbed pianos parts never letting go from beginning to end, this album never settles itself, despite everything you may want to think.
I really feel that as Pink Reason, the far preface to this recent remembrance of the darker side of all things, played their last show not so long ago here in NYC, and despite whether there is a truth to this connection or not, their influence has bled terribly far, much further than may have been assumed prior, possibly as far as Vienna, if not only in some complete indirect. I could just be connecting dots that exist on different pages of the same coloring book, but it feels very much like Nihiti has picked up, in some strange side-way, where Pink Reason may be about to leave lay … recognition of, or possibly release from, the truest of existential terror is exactly what they seem to be grabbing so desperately for … maybe it's influence, maybe it's some weird Jungian fallout, but regardless, it's all undeniably fucking good.