Miniatüre by Nobuka
The latest release on the thrilling Difficult Art and Music label from Brighton presents us with 22 glimpses into memories and a textural tour of the psyche
Cinematic in scope, spatial and temporal in gestures; Miniatüre by Nobuka presents us with 22 glimpses into memories that take us on a textural tour of the psyche. Each piece feels weighted by an enticing physicality and emotional resonance, as the present passes and becomes history.
Beginning in medias res, we are dropped into an eerie prelude inhabited by the spirit of Scott Walker’s film work. Met with whispered vocals and atonal peals of sound, thus begins a fractured journey through the winding night triggered by trips in synapses and temporality.
The miniature vehicle each piece inhabits crafts organic shifts in tone, texture and psychology. Listen to the music away from sight of album details and you soon lose track of time and when one part starts and another one ends. This effect echoes lucid dreaming, skipping from one imagined scene to the next; jump-cutting like Godard — not only between techniques and mood but also between a growing sense of curious dread and ominous anticipation. All this is done with such clever composition: the pacing is perfect in terms of progression — balancing minutes of musique concrète and fielding recordings against a slowly shattering glass ceiling of haunting drones or creaking waves or soft, enticing pulses.
From Cage to Jonny Greenwood scores, to Reich and back to Walker, this is a word beset by shadows and ghosts and strangers. It’s the 80s and we’re Nick Cave living in Kreuzberg, penning Birthday Party and Bad Seeds lyrics on a messy bed in a tiny apartment, writing his first novel, with Blixa close by. It’s the 70s. We’re Bowie and Iggy. And then Falco, Peter Schilling. We’re travelling through time portals like in Dark. It could be a metaverse of déjà-vu or jamais vu, an aura over the eyes, moments of life and death between time. We’re in a Borge novel. An intertextual maze; a network of hyperlinks. Time is flat, broken, beautiful.
This could be film music or dream music or music for performance because it breathes mood, movement and menace. Everything is interlinked by the juxtaposition of everything seemingly sounding like it is on the verge of collapsing. Like fleeting seconds or passing thoughts or when days turns to night and awareness sneaks into unconsciousness.
The album often feels like sound growing out from cracks of old concrete, through crumbling walls and between open panes of glass. There are shards of life in the snatches of melody and engrossing soundscapes formed through scrapes, raps and taps, bleats and rumbles. But just when we think we might be able to grab a handle on a repeating pattern or motif an icy Berlin wind sweeps in and pushes proceedings into new directions.
In certain moments a growing claustrophobia sneaks up on us, as if space is gradually constricting and we are following a stranger around corners into a deepening labyrinth. We’re then granted a pause, a moment of torchlight to see our steps ahead, before our shadows promptly again cover the way. There is no horizon to follow, only occasional handholds to feel for. As we drift through doorways and wind through windows, for best results I recommend to simply close your eyes and let Nobuka take you to the forgotten places they craft for us, knowing that with every repeated listen, each journey will be changed, charged and new.
Stepping into the same river twice is never the same and listening to Miniatüre follows suit. Every time we recall a memory it is different, because we are different. Give this music a listen and the likelihood is that you will feel different, too.
Miniatüre by Nobuka was released on 6 June 2022 by Difficult Art and Music. A fantastic limited edition physical edition is available including the album on cassette, a 32-page photo-book and exclusive art print.