Nothing Is Still cover

Nothing Is Still


Shortly after signing with Ninja Tune, experimental house producer Leon Vynehall found some unconventional yet resonant inspirations for his first “legit” album-qua-album. The thematic concept arose from the stories of his recently-passed grandfather that his grandmother told him over shared photos of their life in 1960s New York. And while orchestral, organic-sounding yet avant-friendly works by dance-music artists weren’t entirely unprecedented at the time, Vynehall defied expectations and found a deep well of startling reinvention in his decision to draw off his enthusiasm for minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Nothing Is Still turns its secondhand experiences of familial nostalgia into something immersively personal, and even without the accompanying Vynehall-written novella that blueprinted his musical vision for the album, the merging of broad orchestral sweep and minimalist yet impactful rhythms perfectly suit the black-and-white melancholy of the story’s ex-pat disillusionment, from the lonely oceanfront gaze into the distance that opens the album (“From The Sea/It Looms (Chapters I & II)”) to the increasingly heavy tension-and-release dynamics of its pulse-throbbing mid-album heart (“Trouble - Parts I, II, & III (Chapter V)”; “English Oak (Chapter VII)”).

Nate Patrin

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