Just a quick note that NKR will be moving on nicely soonish after a mini-hiatus as we’ve been floored here with work since we got back to Japan. I’ve barely been home whilst Lee has been busy with her MA :) The last batch of awesome releases are now pretty much out, but A-Musik and Morr (ANOST) have just ordered what we had left so pop over there in the next few weeks if you still don’t have anything from our summer manic release session!
NKR has actually officially become the bees knees in Japan. Quite unlike with the discerning buyers over at Home Normal, we always get a rabid following for each of the releases, despite the far ranging genres we cover here and the artists being old-hands and newbies alike. We have some incredible new work coming up (and a bunch from artists from my favourite part of the world curiously - south Italy). Exciting times.
Anyway, I’ll be back in a week finally, and will update with clips and all that good stuff then. For now, put on those slippers, brew some cha and enjoy the soothing, dirty, meaty sounds from our previous 19 (!) releases until then. x Ian
Thanks to everyone who grabbed a copy of the latest NKR’s. We are now totally out of Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz) & Hakobune (Takahiro Yorifuji), Pillowdiver (René Margraff), Giulio Aldinucci and are down to our last 10-20 of the awesome work by Taishi Kamiya and Nils Quak. We may have a few copies of these left after the summer (early September to be precise) but for now are out. The remaining releases (017-019) will be available in stores over the next few weeks. Thanks so much for the continued support.
Nils Quak – Long Forgotten Days Under a Dust Covered Sky
One look at that cover should tell you all you need to know. Displaying a grainy image showing a private moment between family, the photo is at once patchy, momentary and endearingly ambiguous, and is indicative of the music as a whole. The latest album from Cologne-based sound artist Nils Quak – the first of a purported two to come out this year – is a gauzy and intimate record that so often hints at ideas but never reveals an overall picture of things.
Take album highlight ‘People don’t live here anymore’ with its light-as-air synths, gentle static and what sound like samples of manipulated bird squawks, which feels achingly short even at five minutes. Elsewhere ‘Sweet Entropy’ contains soft, chorused synths and a gentle beat made from vinyl hiss, and ‘November my dear’ uses its lonely piano strikes to stunning effect to punctuate its gentle ambience which gets cut off after only two minutes.
Indeed most of the tracks off of Long Forgotten Days … are all reasonably short; although it could be construed as frustratingly fragmented, it is never impenetrable and in most cases charmingly vague and begging for listeners to force their own images onto the sounds. This clearly is what Nils Quak wanted to achieve with this record: even eight minute closer ‘To Feel Nothing’ feels tense and unresolved – but in the best possible way.
Taking cues from ambient, noise and drone, this stunning and beautifully warm album was made for those who love to be alone.
Harold Budd famously proclaimed that the thing that distinguishes ambient music from its illegitimate, golddigging daughter New Age is its strain of evil. In Budd’s own recordings, it was often implied, while others surrendered completely to the dark side and created a whole new genre. Nils Quak‘s Aether is utterly sodden with evil. Produced entirely on a modular synthesizer mixed with field recordings, it lurches and quavers, sooty and sebaceous, and pieces break off from the main flow. A dawn attempts to rise but is forced to go back down.
The album title is a misnomer. The aether is the storied uppermost air; Quak refers to “a vast lucid void drifting without direction”—I’d suggest that this music fills every space, moves in every direction at once and radiates so much heat that it repels any approach. The air is not still but suffocating, low-ceilinged. The listener has to crouch lower and lower but is ultimately and inexorably overwhelmed. An unexpectedly malevolent experience.