nihiti - for ostland is aquarius records record of the week
We’ve long been fans of this mysterious NY outfit, whose past records found these guys brewing up a dizzying concoction of warped electro wave, haunting witch house-y minimalist creep, fuzzed out shoegazey ambience, and home brewed big beat crunch, all blurred and smeared into something way more abstract and psychedelic that its constituent parts. But here on their third and most recent, the band dial things way back, and craft a dark, gorgeous slab of introspective, electronic soundscapery, opening the proceedings with thick swaths of gristled, pixelated Tim Hecker like sonic haze. All washed out and dreamy and woozily lysergic, perfectly leading into a stunning Marissa Nadler cover, the already dark original transformed into an even darker lament, all swirling churns of mumblecore drift, heaving swells of black blurred fuzz, over skeletal rhythms, and moaned barely there vox, smeared and subtly processed, a plaintive whispery croon becomes a lush landscape of layered drones drifting dreamily and druggily, a ghostly and spectral electro-ambient threnody, that builds to a near squall of roiling riffs and tangled black melodies, the result still somehow warm and soft and utterly trancelike.
Elsewhere, the group unfurl smoldering cinematic soundscapes, strange slivers of shadowy sound, moaning fragmented melodies, all over a haunting heartbeat like pulse, a sort of slo-mo electronica, laced with strange hummed/sung vocals that remind us a bit of country weirdos the Reveries, who sing with cell phone speakers in their mouths, the same effect here, a wordless warble that ebbs and flows, slipping from near insectoid buzz to deep softly dramatic, barely there croon, and back again, all over slow swooping backwards guitars, and disembodied fragments of guitar melody.
Some tracks, like “Eisenbahnstrasse, January 1st 1946” shed some of the darkness, and blossom into dreamily prismatic swirls, all tinkling chimes, clean guitar jangle, soft psychedelic shimmer, all interwoven with random samples and brief blurts of FX heavy skree, but the sound always seems to drift back into the darkness.
As the record progresses, heavy machine like industrial beat, lumber through fields of clang and clatter and thump, all constructed into a dense driving blast of junkyard groove, the whole thing swaddled in a distant buzz, and slowly building swells of layered static drones, a sort of ultra minimal hypno-hop, like something you migh have heard on an old DHR record, or on one of those Electric Ladyland comps alongside Techno Animal, Spectre and the like. Eventually, the sound slows to a crawl, still beat heavy, but this time a tar pit drag, a lurching, looped lumber, all downtuned thrum, and disembodied voices, and some buried shuffling skitter.
“Sun Shatterer” is a heady sprawl of minimal gloom pop, minor key guitars, chiming through a cloud of woozy sonic warble, weird clipped whispers, tense strings, keening high end tones, what sounds like Hermann Nitsch like brass, which resolve into soft whorls of crumbling distortion and lush waves of fuzzed out feedback, before unexpectedly exploding into something much more in keeping with their old sound, big beats, a sort of post industrial electro wave downer dirge, with clean, dramatic new wave vocals, big melodies, buzzing synths, but all still wreathed in the weird droned out sounds that started the track off, like a noiser, more abstact Interpol maybe…
After a couple brief tracks of creepy, psychedelic ambience, the 30 second “Campfire Ashes” way too short, sounding like it could have blossomed into some dark Demdike Stare style epic, which thankfully is in a way what happens, as that track leads directly into the closer, a nearly nine minute sprawl called “Hymn Division”. that lays down a simple pulsing beat, over which Nihiti lay thick swaths of black buzz, dense swirls of ribcage rattling low end reverberations, and finally deep, dramatic minor key melodies, that infuse the song with serious pathos, it’s not hard to imagine this as the sound track to the denouement of some twisted, modern, avant indie film, a dizzying expanse of moving, emotional, electronic minimalism, but here drifting towrd maximalism, the tones expanding and exploding in slow motion, the melodies, bright, and eventually blinding, the tones strecthed way out, tense and intense, the coda a sort of Hecker / Nadja dreamdronedrift, but more soft focus here, heady and heavenly.
lossmaker featured on juno plus
Lo Bit Landscapes are streaming a new EP from L.I.E.S. associate and video artist Luke Wyatt under the Lossmaker alias.
Perhaps best known for his work as Torn Hawk, which saw a white label release on L.I.E.S. last year, as well as a track on the label’s American Noise compilation, Wyatt’s music tends towards the fuzzed out, psychedlic end of the electronic music spectrum, often utilising heavily distorted guitars and swirling effects alongside synthetic textures. It’s an aesthetic that also spills over into his trippy, heavily saturated VHS video work, which has accompanied tracks from the likes of WT Records’ Ex-Vivian and Mock & Toof’s recent single “My Head”.
Wyatt recently revealed a new musical project, Lossmaker, which has seen a self-titled EP of material released on the US based Lo Bit Landscapes which can be streamed in its entirety below; although it shares some qualities with his Torn Hawk productions, Wyatt’s more psychedelic qualities are kept in check, with a more pensive sound delivered by its brighter synth sounds and more subdued sampling.
FACT Magazine Premiere of NIHITI - Ghosts and Lovers (Mark Verbos Sordid Future Mix)
The remix-of-a-cover provenance is a bit convoluted, but the end result is worth it.
Last year, New York band Nihiti explored the ambient intersection of techno, industrial, and drone on for ostland. The most affecting cut was ‘Ghost and Lovers’, a shoe-gazing cover of Marissa Nadler’s song of the same name.
On February 14, Nihiti will release Ghosts and Versions, a remix 12″ featuring new versions of the song by Mark Verbos, Zebrablood (Nathan from Excepter), Hrdvsion, National Park System, and Alienboy (La Big Vic) via Lo Bit Landscapes.
Stream the “Sordid Future Mix” by NYC techno veteran Mark Verbos below. True to its name, the remix layers the vocals of the Nihiti version with the futurism of a late-night cyberpunk rave.
Viktor Timofeev - GIVEHEALTH999 on BoingBoing
Viktor Timofeev, a NYC resident who in fact hails from Latvia, is probably better known as a visual artist, having made a bit of a name for himself in the art world over the last few years. (See painting above right from a recent show in Cologne.) But he also counts himself a member of electro synth-wave downer pop combo Nihiti and painted the very distinctive cover of the first Nihiti album. Give Health999, his first solo record, is something else entirely, totally removed from Nihiti. On his own, he instead traffics in expanses of layered drones, and looped riffage, of atmospheres and ambience, but active ambience, with sounds blurred and tangled, rhythmic without actual rhythms. The label drops names like Stars Of The Lid, SUNNO))) and Godspeed, and we do definitely hear elements of all of those. It’s droney and dirgey and haunting and almost classical sounding in places, but the tracks are super varied, while retaining an oblique cohesiveness.
The opener is all dirgey blackened atmospherics, reminding us a little of one man guitarscaper Blackwolfgoat, looped and layered riffage, lurching and stuttering but super hypnotic, ultra lo-fi, muddy and murky, but the sort of thing we would have been into seeing fill up both sides of the record. The second track is totally different, instead it’s lush and shimmery, a dreamlike dronescape laced with streaks of feedback and a haunting distorted melody that runs throughout. The final track on the A side begins with field recordings, birds and running water, all beneath a series of warped and woozy tape experiments, lush chordal swells, repetitive and mantra-like, finally transforming into an almost orchestral looped industrial outro.
The flipside is separated into three tracks, but they seem to be woven into one sidelong epic, a cinematic symphonic landscape of drone and melody that almost sounds like a black metal Arvo Part, droney and dirgery and dramatic, sinister and ominous, the vibe menacing and super intense, the sort of track that broods malevolently, but is totally hypnotic and mesmerizing, the whole side is like a sonic black hole, the listener immersed in the dense deep blackness, until the last few minutes, where the track finishes off with a strange bloopy almost new wavey sounding outro.
Definitely recommended for fans of dark drones and droney darkness, and for sure has us wanting to hear more sounds, AND see more art from Timofeev.
Viktor Timofeev and NIHITI Reviews in Terrascope
Working in the area of Noise/Experimental/Drone Latvian born, Berlin resident Viktor Timofeev manages to inject at least a smidgen of melody into his compositions, although these often seem more like reflections of melody rather than melodies themselves. On “GIVE HEALTH99”, his latest collection the mood is dark and desolate, distortion and confusion taking centre-stage, the music grinding through solid rock before emerging, tense and battle-weary. As with most experimental sounds, at least for me, it is the longer tracks that work best, with the 14 minute “Flying Zonogons” really creeping under the skin, a slow motion pulse like the heartbeat of a long forgotten creature that is only now remembering its purpose here on Earth. Difficult at first, the tracks here will reveal themselves as deep and mysterious, the harshness cloaked in a sheen of soft melody adding an alien beauty to proceedings. (http://lobitlandscapes.org/)
On the same label comes the rather wonderful package that is “For Ostland” an album pressed on clear vinyl (streaked with black), containing a poster of the sleeve (artwork by Viktor Timofeev) and an inner sleeve as well, all good stuff which is thankfully matched by the music inside as NIHITI mix drone, experimental, ambience and distortion to perfection. After the atmospheric opener, the band take a sideways step as the cover “Ghosts and Lovers” (Marissa Nadler), turning the song into a beautiful gossamer haze of sound that is intense and aching with longing. On “ankhmazes” the sounds of old spirits walk the room, telling their tales without words, whilst over on side-Y, as opposed to side-X, “Sun Shatterer” is a slice of electro-pop fed through an industrial mincer, almost dance-able and sounding very fine indeed at high volume. To end, “Hymn Divisions” blends pulse with ambience, creating a mesmerising piece that floats away across a cloudy sky, brief glimpses of the moon allowing you to get your bearings.
Also available from NIHITI is “Other Peoples Memories”, an earlier LP that shows the band still searching for their final destination, the tracks having a more song-based edge, with “No Angel Came” possessing a rock heaviness that has become buried in distortion on their next LP. Elsewhere “The Ringing In” is a pop song filled with melody, whilst “Party Of” is a gently cloud of (mainly)acoustic psych, the two tracks sitting uneasily next to each other on the album. Over on side two, the band reveal Talk Talk to be an influence as the side contains five electro songs thare woozy and left of centre but definitely more straightforward than the bands later offering. Having said that, this is still a fine collection and there will no doubt be times when this disc will be chosen over the other, each having a personality of their own.