When this 2017 study found the world was experiencing a “biological annihilation”, researchers involved probably didn’t predict a global pandemic, not to mention the profound impact it would have on things like animal behaviour. Little did they know the reclamation of a locked-down metropolis by herds of wild goat would become common place for a time as wild animals encroached on what had been no-go urban territory for decades if not centuries.
NYX certainly found the knock-on effects of pressing pause on modern life as food for thought. Reflecting on themes of ecological transformation, our latest Concept In Practice mix finds the all-female electronic drone choir serving up a truly evocative blend of ambient, musique concrète, field recordings, electroacoustic mutations and sound collage.
Could you tell us a bit about the idea behind this concept?
NYX has been working on projects over the past few months that touch on ecological transformation –– in essence we’ve been exploring the complicated relationship between humans and nature. In this mix we wanted to dig into this further. Initially the idea was inspired by the imagery surfacing during lockdown of dolphins rocking up in the Venice canals and monkey gangs running riot in Thailand. From there we got deeper into the theme, looking at different imagery, video, poems and field recordings that are all linked to our own interpretation of theme.
How did you approach it in terms of process?
A group of us collated a load of images and turned them into mood boards (see below) –– from here we selected a few songs each that felt connected to this imagery. I then weaved it into a mix incorporating field recordings and spoken word snippets.
How would you recommend listening to it?
If we’re talking now, in this heatwave… in your pants, lying on the kitchen floor, eating a Twister.
Considering the mix reflects on how lockdown has changed the world as we know it, even if only for a brief moment, how has music helped you get through this challenging time? Is there anything in particular that has really helped, whether it be listening or creating?
During lockdown all the members of NYX got home recording setups sorted. So we’ve been making lots of music from isolation. It’s a completely new way of working that seems to have unlocked a huge amount of new creative energy! Also, working on projects like this mix, has really helped keep us sane and connected through music and sound.
We really enjoyed your recent DOOM DRONE playlist, but much of it is quite divergent from what we’ve come to expect from NYX. Can we expect horizons to be broadened even further moving forward?
Thanks, more playlists to come!
Yes indeed. There are some new projects on the horizon and some of the material sounds very different to what you might have come to expect from NYX.
And finally, what’s next on the agenda for NYX?
During the lockdown, we’ve been lucky to work with the charity organisation Body & Soul to develop and run a creative programme called The Power of Sound. Sian, Philippa and Imogen have been meeting with 18 of their members on a weekly basis to create a community-led album exploring the connection between the body and the voice. Body & Soul do amazing work using a community-based, trauma-informed approach to address the life-threatening effects of childhood adversity in people of all ages – check them out HERE.
We’re also pleased to announce a new digital immersion project: Mutualism. Mutualism has been in development since January in collaboration with spoken word artist Belinda Zhawi and visual artist Nick Cobby, with funding from Help Musicians UK and Arts Council England.
That’s all we can really talk about right now but there’s lots brewing.
This mix was compiled by NYX creative director Josh Thomas.