Rachika Nayar

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Our Hands Against The Dusk (2021), 6.5/10
Heaven Come Crashing (2022), 5/10

New York's queer Indian-American composer Rachika Nayar, who had already released the mini-album Themes for a Film (2018) and scored the soundtracks for several films, specialized in ambient music for guitar loops using a de/reconstructive method reminiscent of Brian Eno’s variations on Pachelbel's Canon in D released on his album Discreet Music. The manifesto of her art of deconstruction and reconstruction is Our Hands Against The Dusk (NNA Tapes, 2021). She painstakingly programs how The Trembling Of Glass seamlessly transitions from glitchy noise to feverish zither-like tremolos and to simple folkish strumming, and how rhythmic choir collides with guitar noise in The Edges. The Edges has the calm ecstatic quality that is expected from the genre, but A Burning Plan is more of an impressionist vignette, a blurred photograph of a sandstorm in the desert. Dating from 2017 and named after a Rilke poem, Losing Too Is Still Ours is a mini-symphony of fluttering guitar chords, heavenly floating voices, subterranean distortion, and hidden samples of neoclassical strings: mixed with elongated wordless vocals, her technique generates a psychedelic effect. The eight-minute Aurobindo is a complex and stately religious psalm that fuses lugubrious meditation and Buddhist-like trance, yielding the feeling of entering a fifth intangible dimension.

The EP Fragments (2021) contains eleven miniatures, a rather tedious experience.

By comparison with the creative facets of her first album, Heaven Came Crashing (2022) is a sterile exercise in adapting new-age music to new digital technologies. Most pieces are simple loops of simple quasi-melodies during which very little happens. In that realm, Gayatri and Our Wretched Fantasy achieve the most celestial atmospheres. When something happens, it's not always welcome, like the sudden burst of drum'n'bass in Heaven Come Crashing with the synth shouting an arena-rock kind of melody; or like the rhythmic frenzy that devastates The Price of Serenity. The ten-minute Tetramorph is largely wallpaper.

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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