Rachika Nayar - fragments Music Album Reviews

Rachika Nayar - fragments Music Album Reviews
Five months after her stunning debut album, the Brooklyn composer offers up a modest yet revealing set of sketch-like guitar pieces, drawing unexpected connections between Pat Metheny and Midwestern emo.

It’s not immediately obvious from much of Our Hands Against the Dusk, Rachika Nayar’s stunning first album, that the electric guitar is the Brooklyn-based composer’s primary instrument. Nayar uses her own melodic lines as source material for electronic manipulation, twisting and stretching them until they ripple and shimmer like reflections on unquiet water. The mirage dissipates only rarely, as in the final section of “The Trembling of Glass.” The uncanny swirls of the piece’s first half recede, and we’re left with a lonesome arpeggiated figure, one of few easily recognizable guitar sounds on the album. Nayar gradually adds more layers but soon halts on a choked staccato note that suggests the abrupt end of an impromptu solitary jam session, one last stab at the strings before putting the instrument away. Within the context of Our Hands Against the Dusk, whose production and arrangement remain poised and deliberate even as the music traverses huge emotional peaks, the unplanned air of this moment offers a look behind the curtain: a brief reminder that, no matter how vast and strange the landscape becomes, it usually starts with Nayar alone at the guitar.

The compact fragments arrives five months after Our Hands Against the Dusk, and it functions as a sort of companion piece. It extends that earlier look at the inner workings of Nayar’s music, revealing the sorts of raw recordings that often serve as starting points for her larger compositions, according to promotional materials. The EP’s 11 tracks range in length from 54 seconds to two and a half minutes, and they generally contain several guitar parts weaved in an intricate latticework, looping with occasional electronic accompaniment. They are often lovely, and almost always end before you’d like. The magic of Our Hands Against the Dusk lies not only in its crystalline textures but also in the way Nayar develops them across the sophisticated compositional arc of a given piece. Each track on fragments is akin to a single stop on one of those journeys. Nayar presents an idea, lets it run for a while, then pulls the plug and moves on to the next one. Listening feels a bit like perusing the auxiliary materials of a museum exhibition, looking at early charcoal drafts on paper while spectacular canvases hang behind you.

Nayar cites Midwest emo as an influence, which in the past was most audible in her work as an undercurrent of sensibility rather than an explicit reference point, an unabashed directness of feeling—and an instinct for chord changes that raise a lump in your throat—that persisted even through the music’s most abstract passages. On fragments, the connection is much closer to the surface. Nayar also mentions the work of minimalist composer Steve Reich, as interpreted by virtuoso jazz fusion guitarist Pat Metheny, as a source of inspiration, and fragments sometimes resembles a literal collision of these influences. The jangly guitar interplay of tracks like “allegheny” and “softness” is plainly reminiscent of the canonical Midwest emo sound, but the way Nayar uses these riffs as vessels for trancelike repetition is pure Reich. (As for Metheny, a Missourian with a nerdy streak whose early albums are filled with twinkling clean-toned paeans to the beauty and desolation of his native landscape—well, maybe the distance between him and American Football isn’t as big as you’d think.)

The EP’s most affecting moments come when Nayar begins filling in the outlines of her sketches with motifs like the heroic synth bassline that arrives halfway through “memory as miniatures,” the harmonized ascending figures of “august 31st,” the circuitous melody winding among the loops of “parking lots”—tracks that begin to feel like compositions unto themselves, not outposts along the way to some weightier end. But it would be a mistake to demand more of fragments, a release that makes no bones about its own ephemerality, from its title to its low-key cassette release to its 15-minute runtime. Our Hands Against the Dusk announced Nayar as a formidable talent among guitarists and electronic musicians. While fragments doesn’t aspire to the same heights, it does provide several compelling new angles from which to view her more substantial work.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Rachika Nayar - fragments Music Album Reviews Rachika Nayar - fragments Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 19, 2021 Rating: 5


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