Nailah Hunter 'Spells' 12"
Spells is the debut release by Los Angeles based multi-instrumentalist and composer Nailah Hunter on Leaving Records. Each of the EP’s six tracks represent a spell, a unique sonic place forged by imagination and incantation. Ambient in nature, each spell highlights Hunter’s skills as a composer. “It really started off with me just wanting to kind of reclaim the way that I thought about creating music and then also performing it,” Hunter says. “I was like, okay. I need to get back to the basics of why I like to create and what it does for me … so I set out to make spells, in the sense that each layer is one of the steps in incantation... It became about purpose... the procedure and the ritual, so that when it came to performing it, I wasn’t able to get into my head about it because I was just carrying out these steps. Each track is its own incantation, its own spell, its own world.” Colorful atmospheres permeate Spells, each track offering tranquil, reflective setting. Hunter explains, “Another thing that I always wanted to focus on and through making this project have sort of been able to name is that, I like to create places, songs as locations ...whether there are field recordings [involved] or not.”
Opening track “Soil” is accompanied by a poem: “a seed is sown, a song from silence.” Its beautiful harp and angelic voices establish the album’s mode of beautiful stillness. This is followed by “Ruins,” a tranquil soundscape abetted by insect field recordings and a slightly warped, heaven-bound trajectory, described by Hunter as a love spell. “Another thing that’s really important to me about my relationship with music is synesthesia. It’s all very palette based... For the song “Ruins,” it comes on like magenta and clementine.” On the colors present in the single “White Flower, Dark Hill,” Hunter describes “the idea of the purples and navies of the night sky and the way that shadows appear under full moonlight, the different shades of moonlight, and how it always brings out the color white.” Each track’s nuanced production and big, emotional sounds do carry a charged energy, colorful and magnetic. The shifting phases and sustained drones of “Enter” mimic the feeling of approaching and walking through a rift into a fantastical world. The listener is advanced into album highlight “Quiet Light,” which Hunter states captures, “that feeling of being like golden light in a cold still pool of water, this very specific image and feeling that I just love so much.”
Spells is a powerful opening statement that uses this musician's innate artistic gifts to promote healing and self awareness. Of the album’s inspirations, she adds, “definitely rune magick and just the idea of creating places of rest … sonic places of rest, places to ponder and consider your feelings. Me making music, it’s always been about healing for me and making myself feel better. If other people listen to it and also feel better, then that is delightful.”
Label: Leaving Records