Label: Soma Records
Release date: September 27th 2019
Narisshu is a second LP from a Glasgow-based producer Petrichor, who remains loyal to the local label Soma Records. For those who do not know, petrichor refers to that absolutely alluring smell, which comes once the rain breaks out after a period of draught. The air smells clean, fresh and invigorating scent of wet earth tickles your nostrils.
The release opens with pieces San and There, which instantly transport the listener into some space with sacral ambience. Whatever this place is, it is soft, vast, pulsating with energy and full of life. This sets the scene for what is about to come quite eloquently, and the rest of the sounds unravel in this mysterious, yet somewhat familiar space.
Valdo is a soft and down-tempo piece which emanates tranquility, perhaps more than any other track on this release. It feels as if one is now curiously yet effortlessly floating in this soft and inviting space. After Velvet quite clearly sustains the rhythmic structure of Valdo, yet lower frequency drum replaces the prominent snares. It also feels as if the pace of floating has slightly picked up.
6EQUJ5, which first appeared on Signal EP, is perhaps the most energetic of all the tracks on the Narisshu LP. 6EQUJ5 caries allusions to both uneasiness and growth, and thus reminds us that these two concepts are almost inherently interconnected. There is no growth without struggle. Narisshu, after which the album is named, is soothing and it is hard to refrain from saying that it has some healing qualities. It’s as if the little sounds are simultaneously massaging your brain and filling your heart with hope. After the preceding 6EQUJ5, Narisshu therefore feels as the calm after the storm.
Juxtaposing MXT10 and Blöta once more exposes how well Petrichor plays with fluctuating between more poignant and very ambient sounds, which bloom after the more energetic ones. This play with trenchant and mellow sounds, enables some sort of perceptual or attentional switch: zoom in/zoom out. It’s almost as if the soundscapes of Petrichor enable listeners to experience more layers of reality. In Blöta (also on Blöta EP) the continuous humming tone, against which the melody unfolds results in a hypnotic state, which reinstates the floaty aesthetic. The little sounds, which enter the soundscape one by one, dance around this low frequency humming, which carries the melodic complexity with grace.
Field Dub stands out with an exceptional work with drums. The drums function as a guiding light leading the path through the yet more mysterious and somewhat darker territory one finds oneself in. In Riot Faux Pas drum & bass influences fully shine through. This is somewhat unexpected from Petrichor, but it only attests to its uncompromised and genuine musical exploration, which defies musical genres. The concluding pieces, Sapiens and Last, slowly take us back to the middle of this sacral space we started at and leave us floating there.
When the last sound vibration dissipates, the silence that comes after no longer feels silent and the space no longer feels hollow. Narisshu fortifies the listener with equanimity. It also feels nurturing, like the soil after rain – abundant with little critters, which are the very cause of petrichor. The imminent feeling of things about to spring to life.