Inside Nomine


A veteran of UK electronic music operating incognito, Nomine, by the time his debut was released in 2012, had already established the defining hallmarks of his sound -- an atmosphere of mingled dread and blissful calm, pulpy Eastern melodies, and tidal waves of sub-bass. Deep and meditative yet murder on a soundsystem, his tracks were vital firepower for a rejuvenated dubstep scene, and become regular secret weapons in figurehead Youngsta's record bag. This led to a string of 12"s on Tempa with which Nomine refined and expanded his aesthetic, keeping dubstep's bass-'n'-space ethos at the core while pushing far beyond its structural limits. Inside Nomine is the much-anticipated debut album from Nomine. It finds the enigmatic producer travelling beyond his acclaimed, soundsystem-demolishing 12"s to explore the deepest reaches of inner space. A reflection on the power of sound to reshape how we experience reality, it's a remarkable, immersive soundworld of an album -- delicate and contemplative, fleet-footed yet overwhelmingly forceful. Inside Nomine feels like the culmination of these musical voyages. As a former student and lecturer of sound design and advanced music technology, he draws upon a fascination with the psychologically-affecting qualities of sound. Although retaining a sonic kinship with dubstep, Inside Nomine occupies a genuinely self-defined musical space in which oceanic half-step riddims like "Shockwaves" and "Zen Force" collide with the thrillingly-exploratory broken techno of "Stickman" and "Menacer." Elsewhere, he leaves any notions of the dancefloor behind entirely; the eerie voiceover of "Nomine's Ego" coils through free space amid gorgeous harmonies and airlock hiss. At the album's heart is Nomine's astonishing command of space and atmosphere. On "Blind Man" and "Reticent Shadow," he matches simmering martial-arts-movie dialogue with music that bristles with Zen-like discipline and focus, while "84600" and "Hide & Seek" wield silence like a weapon, dropping pinprick melodies and percussion into the echo-chamber and remolding the air around them. The spaghetti-western freakout of "Dark Is the Night," meanwhile, recalls the haunting visual psychedelia of Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult 1970 film El Topo. Finally, the spine-snap drum 'n' bass of closer "Confusion" abruptly jolts the listener back to the club, bruised and elated -- a fitting return to physical reality at the end of an album that takes joy in subverting it at every turn.