Kung Fu blackbelt, Nomine, enlightens us with his latest EP, The Fear. With the help of his signature companions, Caine and Master Po, as well as the 60’s philosophical psychonaut, Alan Watts, the soundwave sensei welcomes us into his dojo. Dropping on his own label, Nomine Sound, this focused, cerebral release follows Boylan & Slimzee’s thundering dubstep EP, No Cure. Overall, the label ranges from old skool DnB and gritty dubstep, to Japanese grime and analogue techno bouts, clarifying the “no rules” mantra that Nomine promotes through his Education & Bass teaching platform and social media ports. A call and response mechanism runs throughout the EP; quirky squelches communicate over achingly simple, organic drum patterns. Bassline voices unique to some of Nomine Sound’s previous releases return. Perhaps influenced by the recent inception of his techno record label, Fox and Hound Recordings, Nomine opts for a super minimal approach to the 140 sound, filling the spaces with his iconic, incense-burning koto.
‘The Fear’ sets the tone for an exploration through weighty minimalism. A call and response between gritty, pulsing triplets and a talking-drum style bassline bops between the philosophical teachings that Master Po imparts on his young and hopelessly confused pupil, Caine. The motor-bike engine revs are revisited from NS003, where they originally rocked over ‘Grimy Tribe’. As if one lesson in the soul’s tongue wasn’t enough, Alan Watts turns up to really help you lose yourself. Not in the Eminem kind of “Lose Yourself”, more in the Taoist, forget that you’ve got arms kind of way. ‘Listen’ doesn’t let up its meditative pace. Sharpshooter bongos in their appropriate shapes and sizes fill the minimalist treadmill with an unstable, yet unchanging bassline, plus a couple of eerie flutes and bells. From here on out, the EP’s shading gradient deepens and techno creeps in with an organic timbre at 140bpm.
The weapons room of Nomine’s dojo (if dojos have such rooms) is titled ‘Crunch Time’. Squidgy and simplistic, it utilises a bare minimum of structural components. A thin, lost whistle warns over a meditative, plucked melody and an odd, stabbing bassline. Its minimal repetition bares resemblance to Turner’s ‘Funk‘. With the training complete, Nomine opens the final room of his dojo: your mind. Squiggling acid blips converse over final boss strings and delayed woodblocks. Its atmosphere and pace, as well as the rare inclusion of acid house motifs stick ‘Beginner’s Mind’ as this EP’s leading track. The path of Nomine Sound so far has been an impulsive zig-zag of sold-out Bandcamp records featuring the music of Macabre Unit, Cocktail Party Effect, Nomine and more. ‘The Fear’ has done equally as well approaching its imminent release and it will most likely surprise anybody joining the label from NS007. Its patient, minimalist and meditative aesthetic may be difficult for those looking for a “drop” to quench their thirst, but sometimes to experiment is to provide order where there is chaos.