Demen by Nektyr

Release date: May 19, 2017
Label: Kranky

Across Kranky’s repertoire of experimental albums, ranging from ambient drone to improvisational dirges, there’s been the scattering of powerfully moody, stark and hauntingly beautiful albums utilizing piano and vocal performances. Kranky’s latest release offers us the incredible talents of Irma Orm, working under the moniker of Nektyr. It seems little is known about this artist, but perhaps that isn’t too important at this point in time. What is important is how well Orm’s music on her debut album Demen speaks for itself; which in this case offers us a emotional and powerful range of dreamy ambient doom pop.

One listen tells us as listener’s all we really need to know about Orm. The incredible presence of the music itself, and how it instantly just fills one up entirely, becomes quite a powerful thing that never once loses itself as the album progresses across its journey. There’s something incredibly dreamy about the music, but it’s all saturated in such a terrifying doom that fills one with fear and uncertainty, but at the same time, a sense of beauty and wonder. What is of interest is how heavy everything feels, when in fact much of the music is rather minimalist, utilizing just exactly what is needed to make the songs work, and nothing more.

When listening to the album for the first time, I felt like I was being hit by something truly heavy, and as the album progressed, the feeling ebbed and flowed, moving in and out like waves. I tried to imagine what this feeling was, and what words I could place it into, and the image that came to mind was one of drowning, of being pulled deep into the dark abyss of the ocean, slowly sinking as all light gradually disappears until there’s nothing but an intense crushing feeling. The very prospect is terrifying, but there’s also a peculiar feeling of comfort at the very notion of it. I find such thoughts a little silly, as they’re personal feelings that might be difficult for others to understand, especially when they form their own opinions of such music. The very idea of it though struck me as oddly appropriate, though that’s anyone’s guess.

Dark music such as this can always be difficult to approach, but the incredible stark beauty of it can have an oddly comforting sense to someone when the whole experience is absorbed. It’s oddly cathartic, and such expression of cathartic concepts has always interested me, as when it is done well, it is nothing short of powerful. All in all, Demen is a beautifully impressive debut effort, one that showcases a wonderful range of talent and ideas that have all been executed perfectly. The wonderful secretive nature of Orm and her presentation of herself and her music has resulted in one of Kranky’s most intriguing releases thus far. One hopes the secrecy stays hidden away.

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