Maayan Nidam: New Moon
Arriving three years after Night Long, Maayan Nidam's second artist album is hard to pin down, just like the chameleonic artist herself, who's appeared under a generous number of aliases (Miss Fitz, Laverne Radix, with Vera as Mara Trax) on a number of labels (Perlon, Freak n' Chic, Wolf + Lamb, Raum... Musik, Powershovel Audio). The Berlin-based producer's Cadenza debut, New Moon, is as diverse, then, as one might expect; what's more surprising is how well it holds together despite that diversity. The reason for that is simple, however: no matter which direction the eleven-track album takes, the trip is satisfying and the destination well worth whatever trouble it takes to get there. House, electro, funk, techno, hip-hop, acid, soul—they're all here, and all filtered through Nidam's well-seasoned sensibility.
The album feels at times like a roll call of related styles being brought out in sequence. It starts on a strong note with the soulful hip-hop overture “On My Street,” its crisp downtempo breaks oozing a warm jazz vibe. The sinuous electro jam “Harmonious Funk” then gradually digs its hooks into the listener before a bass pulse enters to tighten the noose and give its murmured “Livin' in peace … in harmony” vocal a solid ground. “Trippin' Over You” weds old-school techno flurries to a repetitive house groove and mixes in a smattering of acid for extra seasoning. Elsewhere, piano and horns add a Latin-jazz vibe to “Sunday Sunday,” while “Boastful” overlays a loose, broken beat pattern with sleepy voice samples and synthesizers.
If there is a common thread to Night Long, it's the dance floor: no matter how far she travels in her explorations, the material in question never severs its club ties, and even when a track is little more than an extended groove (e.g., “The Great Suspenders”), Nidam still manages to make the result engrossing by investing the material with high energy and conviction. She tears into the ever-percolating “Last Moon” and “Never Forever,” for instance, with a pitbull-like tenacity, refusing to let them go no matter how many left-field flourishes arise along the way. Bass lines and thumping beats power the album, and consequently a representative jam like “Undermine” remains a body-mover even when Nidam showers it with distorted voice effects, whooshing electronic textures, and percussive touches.