Kybele by Nelson of the East: Global sounds from a planet on lockdown
Embarking on a journey from Italy to Anatolia and from Africa to the Americas, Nelson of the East soars over imagined landscapes in his debut, motion picture-inspired album, Kybele. Plug in your headphones, drown out the world, and set out on a mystic voyage of Earth through the lens of Kybele, the Anatolian goddess of wild nature.
15 April 2020, Copenhagen –– With the world in flux and isolation taking its toll, musical escapism has become a much needed pastime for today’s armchair adventurers. Treating recorded sound as a vehicle of time travel, Milanese artist Nelson of the East (N.O.T.E) takes listeners on a journey through kaleidoscopic soundscapes with his debut album Kybele released on Tartelet Records. Skillfully weaving the sounds of East and West, the nine-track LP fuses Turkish and cosmic influences with a strong electronic backbone into an otherworldly soundtrack of our time.
“The feeling that passes through the record isn’t straight. It changes, it turns, it is never predictable. Never being able to predict which landscape you arrive at next or where the music is taking you is key to enjoying the sound journey,” says Nelson. “While I was composing Kybele I collected a lot of influences during my travels and I’d like to think that this is the reason why my album sounds like a journey,” he adds.
Named Kybele after the Anatolian goddess of nature, fertility, mountains, and wild animals, the record is a continuous saga that takes from the Berlin-based artist’s own adventurous spirit. Following his previous EP releases Night Frames and Phase Alternating Lines, Nelson explores new territories on Kybele. The album opener, “Explorer,” is an exhilarating build up to what could be a 80s sci-fi movie, showcasing Nelson’s knack for cinematic moods. “Draw Me,” speaks to the artist’s intention of making a “snare album,” with an irregular, dominating beat untethering it from time or boundaries.
“What I realize while I was writing the rhythm part is that the more you keep a beat simple the more difficult it becomes to make it interesting. So I just put down some rules to follow. For example, using swing as smoothly as possible, or using lot of syncopated sequence over the straight 2-4 groove,” says Nicolas.
Another thing Nelson achieves in this album is ambience, or the “motion picture touch” as he calls it. Tracks like the wild and obscure Culto, with its Anatolian nuances and middle eastern-sounding scales are made by layering synths to achieve an orchestral effect.
Other tracks capture the musician’s penchant for African and Brazilian grooves, like the Saudade mix of Burning Palm. On the B side, the Italo-flavored Phase Lines comes through with shimmering synth and electronic drums complete with hazy vocals delivered by DJ Rayne and Nelson himself. Yahuda dives into dark, melancholic electro with a Detroit feel not far from the sounds of the great Drexciya. The album closes with ZETA, a track that could easily double as an obscure cinematic composition, for which Nelson was directly inspired by the soundtrack of one of his all-time favorite movies, John Carpenter’s The Thing.
“Someone once told me that my studio looks like a museum, not only because it’s filled with vintage gear but also because every little object in my studio tells its own story and sort of interacts with you while you’re playing or composing.” The nine-track product of this young artist’s vision will be limited to 300 vinyl copies only; a record that encourages deep listening and a departure from the world as we know it.
Kybele will be available on vinyl, digi and stream June 5th 2020.