Review Summary: Surprising cohesion built on blatant and maniacal contrast.
Opposites attract. This statement is most commonly applied to the relationships of magnets, but it also often applies, quite nicely, to music. Oftentimes, elements working well together in a song is due to the fact that they’re either sonically or aesthetically different; one element is balancing out the other. This tactic is, most of the time, extremely effective in making different kinds of instruments fit together like puzzle pieces, in making sound combinations, that would normally look alien and strange on paper, sound like they were made for each other, in making weird cohesive.
The tactic is tried and true, but never has it been pushed so far, never has it been as “tried” as it is on Igorrr’s Nostril.
Essentially the antithesis of “accessible,” Nostril
is a dense, jagged opus, combining spastic percussion sounds with samples of classical strings and brutal death metal riffage. As far as how the album actually sounds, I really cannot think of any piece of music that sounds even remotely like this. Not only have I not heard these particular sounds put together so closely before, but the way the songs are laid out is quite experimental as well. Those spastic percussion sounds I just mentioned, those abrasive, at times obnoxious, electronic pounds and scratches, aren’t really there to keep any “beat,” per se. They seem like they’re there to just violently bounce off the much more calm and timid sound laid in front of them. Be it a pretty violin piece, a jazzy piano sample, or a verse sung low and very operatically,
these sounds are often what actually take the song to where its going, and always provide a blatant and obvious contrast to the electronic crashes beating down on top of them. The contrast is startling at first, but with repeated listens, will reveal itself to be a very effective way of creating these kinds of compositions, compositions that end up being enticingly odd, wildly entertaining, and at times, even strangely moving.
Creating dynamics, and events in the songs that actually leave an effect on the listener must’ve been extremely difficult to do with this album. There’s so much going on throughout damn near the entire album, so many subtle and short-lived rhythms created by the constant assault of those electronic drums, so many precisely placed samples, chopped up and spaced out, or shortened and repeated multiple times in a matter of seconds, only to never be heard on the album again. This album must’ve been a pain in the ass to construct. So I don’t let myself get too
frustrated with the fact that some songs’ dynamics are simply buried too deep beneath the clamor of sounds the songs consist of. But even if I did let my frustration get the best of me, I would still have songs like “Tendon,” “Cruciform Dachshund,” and “Unpleasant Sonata” (to simply name a few), with their constant variations (a massive understatement if there ever was one) and subtle build-ups and schizophrenic crescendos. “Tendon” is particularly interesting, its penultimate passage a weird vocal concoction consisting of operatic singing, maniacal screaming, and that motor boat-esque sound that’s created when one pushes air through pursed lips. The song then ends on a sample of music that sounds suitable for a square dance, most likely being, in terms of weirdness and experimentation, the most awe-inspiring moment on the album.
“Cruciform Dachshund” is definitely one of the heaviest tracks on the album, built around death metal-esque riffs for a large chunk of its duration. It also has a moment with a very beautiful and almost atmospheric-sounding choir, to which an electronic blast beat is then added, creating an almost symphonic metal-esque passage. “Unpleasant Sonata” has a harpsichord playing through its entire duration, even during it’s almost grindcore-like moments of vicious screaming and pounding percussion. And if you’re looking for “moving,” the melody around the minute-and-a-half mark of “Veins” actually has quite a bit of emotional appeal, beneath the mere curiosity and excitement the song would otherwise evoke.
The songs on Nostril
are constantly evolving, constantly transforming, constantly spinning your head. The sounds the songs are built around may often be a bit too scattered and abrasive to make any listener cry, but the album hardly ever stops being fiercely entertaining. And this quality is fiercely reinforced by the album’s self-confidence; I can tell Igorrr knew what he wanted when making this album. He goes all-in, diving into the deep and dangerous pool of experimentation and practically drowning. And he ends up creating a bizarre, consistently fun, and at times even brilliant display of maniacal, electronic what-the-fuckery. Its contrasts are at times as blatant as black and white or night and day, but for the same reason opposite magnets can’t resist gettin' all over each other, miraculously, it works.