To celebrate its first anniversary, the Berlin electronica label WMF has released Nikakoi's Sestrichka on its [komfort.labor] imprint. The Georgian artist (née Nika Machaidze) creates a sound coherent with the imprint's decidedly eclectic orientation. Sestrichka conveys a gentle percolating energy: decidedly moderate in tone, but pulsating all the way through. The opener, "climb," begins with a treble-rich drum-n-bass sequence accompanying a simple synth melody. As the track proceeds, it gently but insistently explores the theme, not unlike an early Squarepusher tune. The density of the drums and their constant modulation through space and tone stands in delicate contrast to an unpretentious, hummable melody.
Onward and outward, Nikakoi explores a range of territory through the 15 tracks on this disc. Elements of ambient, d-n-b, electro, lounge, and house meet at odd angles in often mysterious contexts. "pp," for example, combines lush high-frequency textures with a rolling beat and monotone female vocals. Irony steps in here through some demented lyrics: "laughing to tears, I... break their necks / I broke 'em well, and smiled at myself..." (etc.) Lest you find the tone too dark in this particular alley, the disc swerves right into Reichian textured counterpoint and a reverberant drum-n-bass revelation. The lounge piece "city lights" pulls a page from Jimi Tenor's notebook (a la Organism ), with echoing synth chords, a deliberate light beat, and a jazzy feel.
Overall, Sestrichka has the kind of sound best suited for quiet contemplation. It's not ambient to the extreme of intergalactic voyages, but it's also not insistent enough to yank the listener up onto his feet. Somewhere in the middle, embracing all the edges, and curiously postmodern in its juxtaposition of styles: this disc is a solid winner, well worth repeated listening.