Friday, May 14, 2010

Nice Nice - Extra Wow

7 of 10

Nice Nice - Extra Wow

Nice Nice seems like the crazy hippie high school physics teacher in the music academic world. They create colorful collages of sound, using precise formulas, that carefully and deliberately bubble over their boundaries. They might make some people anxious-- and others entranced-- with music simultaneously tense and relaxing. Loops are the strongest tool for this two piece from Portland Oregon. Tracks gain momentum adding a new element every measure, until you've lost track of the sounds you were clinging on to. Drummer, Mark Shirazi, can be compared to that of Lightning Bolt where keeping 4/4 timing is irregular, and usually sounds like a constant drum fill. Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Jason Buehler, has his hands full with almost every spiraling melody you hear, and the vocals scattered throughout the album. Both add layers of percussion into the loop with amazing accuracy using drum triggers and keyboards.

Extra Wow begins hard. The first song, "Set And Setting", doesn't waste time showing off Nice Nice's intensity. Building drums and sharp guitar jabs are the first signs of what you're in for. The song is abruptly followed by "One Hit", which is just that: a loud unanimous drum and guitar pulse that swells into a frenzy and settles back into a united pounding. If you can handle the first two songs you can handle what's remaining.

Nice Nice can take on many different personae and aren't easily categorized. Most of Extra Wow is their own blend of day-glow poly-rhythmic experimentation, while traces of krautrock, ambient, big-beat, math rock, and drone are added to the pallet in balanced quantities. The album stays grounded, despite the harsh drum bashing and bold sound effects, with the great taste in samples they choose. Droning synths, ambient pads, bells and chimes, evoke images of light, stars, crystals, and everything else bright and illuminating. Also in their sound bank are things like bird calls, dolphins, radar blips,
sweeping oscillations, and wobbly bass lines which fly in every direction.

In the end, Extra Wow might divide some listeners . Some might take to the peaceful droning mantras and not to the heavier, more intense peaking of noise and drum rolls. It can be really demanding sometimes, but if you wait past the more abrasive parts, right around the corner are the blissful swirlings of euphoria.

Extra Wow is on Warp Records, and you can buy this album, others, and limited 7" HERE.

Nice Nice is playing free at Millennium Park on Monday, July 5th at noon
. Info HERE.

Nice Nice - See Waves DOWNLOAD

Nice Nice - Ark Drum DOWNLOAD

Nice Nice - Double Head

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