With Nick Storring, I simultaneously know what I’m getting myself into when he has a new album out while also having no idea what to expect. Storring’s diverse mix of instrumentation and whimsically detailed composition come together in new ways that push his vision beyond the horizon and into another plane. Newfoundout is a captivating maze where few things are what they seem and finding a way out was never in the card to begin with.
Resonating cymbals and soft drones in the beginning moments of “Dome” pull the curtain back on this vivid sound world. Green shoots emerge all over the map as Storring spins a grand narrative. At nearly 13 minutes, “Dome” rollicks across cobblestone paths, combining ancient memories and future lives in a captivating, organic symphony. Layers of scattered percussion ring out, opening portals to underground lairs and forgotten tunnels. Storring jumps from point to point elegantly, always taking a surprising path.
Throughout Newfoundout, Storring is painting evocative imagery with sound. “Frood” hops along between twisted gamelan-infused rhythms, brightly-colored banners soaring overhead as each turn throws new obstacles to dance around. Drones slither between the cracks, joyful catharsis rising above the fray before collapsing in a sweaty, exhausted heap. Storring follows it up with the dreamlike “Khartum,” offering respite under a brilliant borealis, sounds expanding outward against the twinkling stars. Storring’s approach here is almost theatrical in its whimsy and pomp.
All the songs on Newfoundout are named after ghost towns in Ontario and that sense of ominous desolation is most apparent on the sprawling “Silver Centre.” Abrasive loops twist into tight knots, cascading headfirst into the furnace. There’s a sense of standing at the precipice of entanglement, chaos holds its breath. Gamelan-esque textures ping through the mud, diving headfirst into the churning fog of a dead world full of forgotten memories. Storring’s skill as a composer has never been in question, but with each new chapter, the breadth of his vision and abilities grow. Newfoundout is quite the testament.
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