Nitrada: We Don't Know Why But We Do It
2.nd rec

The night-time photos that adorn the cover of We Don't Know Why But We Do It are entirely apropos given its pervasive twilight aura. All nine of its compositions are coloured by melancholy moods, a fact that might suggest that the recording suffers from one-dimensionality. In fact, the consistent mood is what unifies the recording, as contrasts are created by its generous range of styles and the contributions of its various guests. For his first full-length (following upon the EP 0+), Nitrada (Hamburg resident Christophe Stoll) created the initial tracks by himself and then sent them to guests residing in Scotland, Northern Italy, and Sicily for their contributions. Tracks are split between vocal and instrumental pieces, with singing provided by Francesco Cantone, Kaye Brewster, and Nina Sophie Schwabe. In addition, Jukka Reverberi and Corrado Nuccini (of Giardini di Mirò) add guitars to numerous songs. In keeping with the melancholy mood, vocals are typically subdued and the guitars textural, shimmering enhancements. Cantone adds his hushed vocals to “The Only Solution,” a distinctive opener that pairs subdued electronic treatments (percussive clatter, hiss, looping rhythms) with sombre strings that swell dramatically. On “Fading Away,” Stoll fashions a subtly percolating background for Brewster's delicate singing and Reverberi's resonant guitar lines that gradually escalates to a crescendo before fading away with vocal repetitions. Schwabe's gently whispered multi-tracked vocals appear in the dreamy “Like A Souvenir” alongside flickering electronics, lumbering drumbeats, and strings. The instrumental pieces range between the familiar strains of melodic electronica (“Everything Is Not Alright,” with its tactile clicking beats and echo-laden piano) and breakbeat clatter (“I Fear: Good,” reminiscent of Third Eye Foundation's darker soundscapes). There are even industrial and gabba hints in “Old Love, New Idea” where grandly cinematic strings collide with hyperactive breakbeats and dark electronic bass lines. We Don't Know Why But We Do It ultimately impresses as an accomplished and expertly sequenced work, and, at a duration of forty minutes, admirably succinct. It exudes an intimate, nocturnal feel that's broadened by the sweep of its orchestral colourings—a melancholy work perfectly geared for those long and dark winter nights by the fireplace.

January 2004