Making music isn’t all that hard. Drop a beat and sequence a bunch of chords together. That’s usually a good recipe for any popsong, with or without any vocals. But what if you get rid of that beat and slow the music down? You will probably end up with something most people would call ambient music. Take that even further and lose any form of melody and just let those single chords run their course over the length of the whole track. That is actually an excisting genre and it’s called ‘Drone music’. Sounds boring? Well, on paper maybe, but if you sit down and actually listen, whole new worlds will open up for you.
NRV is a new solo-project by Nerve, the producer half of antennasia. “In the harsh and stuffy summer of 2020, I came across drone works such as KMRU, Lawrence English and Stephan Mathieu. I had heard drone previously and was impressed with the sound design so much. In that situation, it gave me the feeling as if time had stopped and a profound sense of relief.” The quote goes on, but that last sentence conveys the whole essence of drone music.
In my past experience with listening to drone music, there was always this sense of darkness and depression. However, it all depends on how an artist fills in the space and time the track occupies. Kehai proves that this genre can lift you into a postive state of mind. This will indeed provide that sense of relief, which in turn can give you loads of energy. That is, if you’re open to it. If you can let go and surrender.
The “kehai” album features seven tracks that move between drone and ambient music. Probably leaning more on the latter then the first. On some you will hear layers of sound oscillating in and out of existence. Often you will find NRV adding subtle melodies, but there always seem to be elements from the drone genre. This causes a constant tension throughout all the tracks, but it’s never disturbing. None of the tracks feel like they last too long, as they are complex enough to stay interesting. If anything, “kehai” is a diverse collection soundscapes and a good first deepdive into a new world for NRV.
In his own words: “I always have been impressed with Buson Yosa’s Haiku (a short Japanese poem). Although most of his Haiku is a depiction of landscape or the scenes from everyday life, you can feel the image or emotion of the poet. Like Buson, I wanted to capture the natural landscapes and the sense of peace that nature brings with sound. I’ve only just started making drone and ambient compositions, so I tried to build the songs with simple layers of sound.”
That sounds simple enough. Still, there’s a lot to discover by listening to this over and over again. Not just in the music, but also about yourself.
The album “kehai” out June 4 on the San Francisco based label Tabula Rasa Records.
NRV / kehai
- aki no vidro.
- the migratory birds sing like bellows.
- faraway spring.
- koe. (ft. san)
Composed, performed, produced & mixed by Nerve
Vocals on “koe.” by san (antennasia)
Mastered by Lawrence English at Negative Space
Cover photography by Yosuke Sato
© 2021 Tabula Rasa Records