Nothing Blues – LA-based musician, NTS resident and label founder Nick Malkin's new record – presents seven vignettes of exactly that: nothing blues. Continuing in his signature vein of jazz-tinged, “live-band ambient” work with releases on Geographic North and Soda Gong, this record sidesteps his previous urban nocturnes and instead presents the listener with music made for solitary, homebound introspection. It's daylit and stalled, plateaued and simply present. It's like the abstracted sounds of peripheral conversation, like laying awake and hearing the neighbours' television in an adjacent room. The passage of time is irrelevant, elastic to the point of meaninglessness.
The process was light and gentle; leaning less on a labored arrangement of samples and more on broad textural brushstrokes embellished with sparse acoustic instrumentation courtesy of Artem Litovchenko and Patrick Shiroishi.
The track titles suggest a subconsciously aspirational dimension to this music too, a daydream of solitary travel and the freedom that comes with it. A gentle sense of passive motion; a yearning for anonymous arrivals and departures, visions of unchanging neon-lit lobbies and gas station food. A gallery of mundane scenes we once took for granted, they are all within Nothing Blues, but on the other side of the windowpane.
Words by Adam Badí Donoval
released November 4, 2021
Cello by Artem Litovchenko
Saxophone by Patrick Shiroishi
Mastered by Stephan Mathieu at Schwebung Mastering
Photograph by Edmund Weitz
Portrait by Peter Tomka
Artwork and layout by Janek Ufnal