UK artist Nicholas Gunn nudges us to new experimental territories of electronic music with his latest record Sound Condition. Gunn, who is a seasoned artist that has produced more than 21 albums and worked with various artists across the world, takes this opportunity to reflect on some of the mind-boggling events and absurdities that we’ve experienced this past year. With Sound Condition, he breaks down the chaos of 2020 while also looking forward to a brighter future.
Kicking off with “The Unfolding,” Gunn draws us in with a mystique aura as the ney flute and glimmering chords yield a tense, yet buoyant atmosphere. This is followed up by “Shine,” a quiet nocturnal song that feels perfect for sleeping until you hit 0:40 where the sizzling synths start showering over your ears. The dripping piano keys along with the raindrop noise makes it a comforting piece that helps you reconnect with nature. “Angels” ft. Alina Renae is a smoky, gauzy piece where the crispy vocals add a layer of lush to it as she reminds us of holding onto hope. She is a frequent vocal guest in the record, adding an intimate oomph to the melodies.
The title track “Sound Condition” is a cinematic piece that feels perfect for being the soundtrack of the hero’s climactic moment. It is intense, but still laidback enough to let you soak on its density. In “My Body Is A Temple,” the ney flute emerges again as the intricate chords and smeared atmosphere take you on a spiritual journey of body and mind. In “Broken,” Renae’s vocals capture the vulnerability that many people experience in their weakest moments. “I’m fragile deep down in my soul” croons Renae. “Language” is another slow-burner for the first minute and 20 seconds before the blood-rushing riffs glide into your ears.
In “Just Us,” Gunn and Renae takes us on a starry-eyed waltz as they capture the euphoria one person can have on someone. “Flow” brings back the ney flute accompanied by marching drumbeats that give it a semi-sinister and semi-enlightening vibe to it. The final piece “The Promise” finds both Gunn and Renae muse on isolation, youth, and freedom – something we’ve been wrestling with this past year. But it also serves as a reminder of the temporary nature of our current stagnancy and keep moving forward for better days. With this final message, Gunn wraps up Sound Condition, nudging us to look within ourselves and others while never giving up.