The return of Everett True | 128. Nneka
Just randomly clicking, the way you do. I tend to go for female Afro hairstyles, just in case. Can’t lose that early 70s sensation.
I wrote yesterday about the power of association when it comes to music: the way you associate certain sounds and phrasing with certain memories or images or feelings. Sometimes, these associations are tangible, like that Jane Siberry album I played over and over on cassette tape during the saddest train journey of my life. I still cannot hear The Moody Blues’ ‘Nights In White Satin’ without reaching for an imaginary cigarette, so I can light it up and pretend I don’t care that everyone else is slow dancing at the under 18s disco, and not me. Not that I’d know what to do even if I was. Often (for me), these associations are musical: I like or dislike a piece of music because it reminds me of another piece of music I heard some time before. Or vice versa. There are no hard and fast rules about that, and I also consider my tastes reasonably broad – not just Ramones AND Fugazi – so this is a loose correlation.
A while back, several years back probably, we went down to the West End market and I was delighted to find a stall playing authentic reggae (not the bogus Australian strain, that usually involves Wiggas and unhealthy great dollops of cultural appropriation). It stuck with me so long, because it’s rare that Brisbane reveals itself to possess a pluralistic culture – not like Ladbroke Grove say, where I came of age in the early 1980s (at the age of 19). Sometimes, something feels so damn right it’s a fucking JOY to experience the moment.
Discovering Nneka last night (now) is like that. I randomly click, not expecting too much. There’s a photograph that momentarily grabs my attention at the top of a music website.
That’s it. Clicking on it takes me to a YouTube video. I listen.
Dubstep? Man, definitions have shifted since I last looked (a few weeks ago). Dubstep? I guess.
So good. Instinctively. So good. I ain’t thinking of associations right now – maybe a little Tricky, the critic can’t help thinking to himself, irritatingly – just grooving in the moment. So good.
I’m intrigued by the voice (though I like the instrumentation too, the distorted cadences, the strained guitars). I like the voice. A lot.
I play more.
Now she’s reminding me of Neneh Cherry a little – or my post-Slits love, New Age Steppers. There’s a similar playfulness. A similar magic. I don’t need to know where she’s from, what race she is, her background or lovers or illnesses or any shit like that, although I’m sure they’re important. Sure, they’re relevant. I can tell, just like that (clicks fingers). I can tell she’s possessed of a fearsome, righteous soul. A burning sense of injustice, and desire to help change her worlds. You don’t believe I can get all that through two songs, one voice? Anyone could. Such amazing dub. Such great rhythm. Such… do you need words here?
I listen more.
So, so good.
Is there a reason no one ever tips me off to the really amazing shit?