November 15, 2016

EP: Nicky Flowers - Infinite Exchange

Create your own digital realm with Nicky Flowers.

Nicky Flowers is a force to be reckoned with on her new electro IDM release, Infinite Exchange. The album's constant flow becomes a sort of river; although it's streaming uphill, it still scoots you along and plants you exactly where you need to be. Sometimes we just need music to listen to, and by putting out primarily instrumental tracks, Flowers has given us the ability to tell our own stories and experiences through them. Her music acts as world-building, instead of plot, set in a universe where sometimes we forget that both are equally important.

Infinite Exchange stands perfectly on the incredibly thin line drawn in between 'too weird' and 'not weird enough.' Right on the line, in its comfiest hoodie, it presses play and the first track “Birdmachine” starts to play. "Birdmachine" has a spiraling sort of beat that exists somewhere between a music video that cuts together footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the very last level of Phantasy Star 4. It melds and flows around a centralized downbeat, allowing the small quirks of a synth pad to play and scatter above and behind it. "Birdmachine" flawlessly transitions into “Strange Loops,” a song that almost verges onto chiptune territory but still stays in the multiverse of IDM. Sometimes chip music can become a little stale by limiting itself to only video game sounds, but Flowers does an amazing job of using diverse noises to keep every measure interesting, even among the repetitive nature of electronic music. In this case though, repetition is a good thing; it lets you really seek out every nook and cranny of the idea before moving on to another room.

Speaking of the next room, on the door you would find instructions for “Breathing Through A Straw,” the first song that's straight up relaxing on Infinite Exchange. Flowers takes a risk by earnestly making music that's comforting in a “here is a place to rest” kind of way as opposed to the more typical “I have experienced your pain too” way. Both are equally important, but the former is rarely seen done right and Nicky Flowers pulls it off in abundance. “Continuity of Space” brings a bit of the momentum back after "Breathing." It's literally a minute and a half of rising arpeggio, so it feels a little more like its purpose is to get you ready for the next song, which is the title track, “Infinite Exchange." It's a chance to reflect on what you learned, which within the world built inside of this EP, it can be anything you want it to be. Nicky Flowers built the mountain, but which path you take is up to you to design as you explore an inner digital realm. Personally, my dreamscape while romping through Infinite Exchange was a universe somewhat similar to Tron. You can think up whatever you like, because this album will make the perfect soundtrack for it.


Listen to Nicky Flowers on bandcamp.

Ruune Magick is an ex-nomadic performer/current village witch living in New England. You can find their twitter during some moon phases at @ruunemagick.