Nika Roza Danilova has spent over a decade crafting an auteurist imaginative and prescient of experimental pop. Over that point, her music has developed dramatically at the same time as its central tenets have remained steadfast: pitch black tone, the power of Danilova’s voice, a preoccupation with dying on each a quotidian scale and a cosmic one. Her music, the overwhelming majority of it self-produced, is the results of a dogged pursuit of a selected imaginative and prescient.
Within the years following the discharge of her fifth album Okovi, Danilova started to query that line of pondering completely. Spurred by a rising socialist consciousness—as evidenced on her Twitter account, which she makes use of to criticize and query the rising affect of massive tech within the music trade—Danilova started to wonder if her as soon as particular person course of was simply one other manifestation of capitalism’s atomizing and isolating nature. “There’s a lot exploitation and subjugation that’s retaining humanity from collaborating and residing in a extra holistic method,” she stated earlier this month. “[The industry] is siloing musicians by this auteurism the place we’re all alleged to be these particular person islands of creative genius. So we’re not being inspired to collaborate.”
On Arkhon, Danilova’s sixth file, she actively tries to counter the ethos that guided her earlier work, bringing in Sunn O)))’s Randall Dunn and session drummer Matt Chamberlain to carry a collaborative spirit to a once-hermetically sealed challenge. The ensuing album widens the scope of her music whereas retaining its primal, gothic spirit. Deeply involved with the character of artmaking itself—and, particularly, easy methods to do it freely with out naturally absorbing the impositions of a cruelly alienating world—it’s a pleasantly shapeless file, an album of experiments and small upheavals that carry new, often mismatched, textures into her world.
Arkhon foregrounds its considerations from its opener “Misplaced,” the place Danilova laments about how company constructions proceed to disenfranchise artists. “Everybody I do know is misplaced,” she sings, her voice deep and droning, shrouded in echo. The tune progresses like an incantation or fairytale, Chamberlain’s tom-heavy drumming pressing and harrowing. “Misplaced” introduces Arkhon as an album about Danilova’s journey in the direction of religious rebirth: over the course of the file, she is “crossing the abyss into one thing new,” stepping right into a physique of water that may “offer you all you need,” strolling eyes-closed right into a forest. Oceans and forests have at all times supplied a fertile metaphor for Danilova—her 2014 file was referred to as Taiga, after the sorts of harsh, expansive forests generally present in Russia—however these situations really feel extra portentous, extra linked to some sort of urge to return to a extra natural, naturalistic lifestyle.