Since she first emerged back in 2012 with her debut ‘Dimension’ EP on Cinematique, Rotterdam based DJ / electronic producer Nadia Struiwigh has released a slew of predominantly download-only EPs, culminating in the release of her debut album ‘Lenticular’ on the Central Processing Unit label last year.
Scarcely twelve months on, this follow-up album on Denovali ‘WHRRu’ (or ‘Where Are You’) sees her taking the ambient techno and post-IDM elements off its predecessor off in an increasingly filmic direction, and crafting cinematic imagery from intricate layers of sonic texture. Comparisons have been made between Biosphere and Struiwigh’s music in the past, and on the evidence of the ten predominantly downbeat and contemplative tracks collected here, it’s certainly not hard to see the connection.
Title track ‘WHRRu’ opens proceedings with a foreboding yet lulling glide through layers of analogue synth pads that occasionally calls to mind shades of Boards Of Canada as the detuned electronics swell and intersect against eerie cut-up vocal samples repeatedly intoning the phrase “where are you.” It’s certainly an effective scene setter, leading smoothly into ‘Roelweijk’s modern classical-tinged wander through elegant minimalist piano keys and rippling glitchy atmospheres, the metronome-like rhythm that clicks away beneath vaporous acoustic guitar plucks anchoring the track at its heart.
Elsewhere, ‘Bizarph’ throws the folk-tinged acoustic instrumentation to the forefront as feathery guitar strokes glide against liquid flashes of electronics and an almost hiphop-centred rhythmic backing that suddenly drops away against wordless vocal harmonies, in what’s easily one of the blissfully angelic moments to be found here.
Elsewhere, ‘Bldrnnr’ manages to live up to its title as Struiwigh takes the listener out over the sort of ominously cold synthscapes you’d associate with the likes of John Carpenter and Vangelis as brooding stacked synths build and trail out against glittering filtered arpeggios that glow like lasers in the night sky. As a late night headphone listening experience, ‘WHRRu’ is one of the most satisfying albums of its type that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this year.