nihiti – Sustained

Posted: 31 July 2022 in Albums
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Lo Bit Landscapes – 7th July 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Life has felt somewhat relentless of late. I do mean this on a personal level, although this is perhaps as much a result off external factors as anything else. The pandemic turned me into an addict. An addict of 24/7 steaming news, of doomscrolling, of relentless checking of social media. When things are constantly happening constantly evolving, it’s easy to find yourself dragged into the whirlwind, and ultimately to depend on the maelstrom. Silence becomes scary. You’re overwhelmed by the volume of emails, texts, FaceBook messages and WhatsApps and find yourself begging for them to stop, but when they do, you panic that something is wrong, that there’s something more sinister afoot, something isn’t working, or that perhaps you’ve died and haven’t realised.

Lately, there’s been a tidal wave of music that’s been created as a reaction to life in lockdown, to social tension, to the mental health pressures of contemporary living. And I’ve been lapping it up, I’ve been loving it. Because people are bringing issues out into the open, and speaking in their own voice about the difficulties we’ve all been facing, relaying those relatable traumas. But I’ve started to feel more like a silent counsellor rather than a music critic. It’s a truism that a problem shared is a problem halved, unless you’re the recipient of all of the sharing. Sometimes, you need a break. Sometimes, you need to let all the tension go, and to simply float.

Nihiti’s Sustained is the perfect antidote to all the tension. It consists of three slow-moving ambient works, extensive in their duration. The shortest, ‘Tetrachrome’ is almost ten minutes long, and it opens with the immense, twenty-one-and-a-half-minute soft soundscape of ‘Stellar Observer’. I sit back by candlelight and close my eyes, and feel my jaw slowly unclench, and my shoulder blades gradually begin to loosen. It’s soporific, deep ambience that washes over you and with washing waves of sound and soft, elongated mollifies drones that drift like vapour. It isn’t without turbulence, but said distortion and treble waves crash a way in the distance and charge against a backdrop of slow undulations. The broad, textured sounds are indeed sustained, for what feels like eternities, and the yawn that swells in my jaws is one of relaxation rather than boredom.

There are glitches and switches in ‘If the Colour’ that disturb the flow, and you almost feel yourself tripping momentarily, like a sleep twitch, but things soon right themselves again, and you resume your calmness, despite scratchy samples and moments of dissonance, because in the overall sensory experience, Sustained is slow and gentle.

Breathe it in, absorb the vapours. Ignore the distant voices as they whisper and echo, and assume they mean no harm, despite the darkening sky toward the end. Let it simply hang in the air: sit back, turn down the lights, and tune in to your inner voice instead of the inaudible mutters. Trust your instruct. Trust the space. Absorb the calm.



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