Release Date: Jul 9, 2021
Record label: Anti-
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The beautifully titled Mythopoetics isn't a massive stylistic shift for Rose, but rather a product of honing and paring back her dense and diverse sonics into something more intimate, the opposite side of the coin to last year's very synth-based The Caretaker. As the sun-dripped texture of the album cover implies, this is a more organic record, that strips away some of the electronic spectres and grooves from her earlier albums and lets Rose's piano balladry and finespun vocals lead the way. There's still the odd rushes of '80s drums or casio-key flutterings, but the songwriting takes centre stage here.
What is it about Nandi Rose (a.k.a. Half Waif) that causes people to describe her art in such a lavish manner? Reviews for last year's sweeping and cascading The Caretaker found critics focusing more on her emotions than her actual craft, using billowing language like "supersaturated moments of her past" (to quote our own review). Writing and recording her fifth full-length throughout a year where it was easy to connect to everyone else's pain, Rose's music finally doesn't seem so distant, so mysterious or so yearning. But that's not to say that this LP isn't affecting -- the New York musician finds her craft ebbing and flowing through innumerable moods, albeit more human than ethereal this time around.
At first, Nandi Rose intended her fifth album as Half Waif to be a return to the basics. With her longtime collaborator and producer Zubin Hensler, she embarked on a recording residency at Gainesville's Pulp Arts studio. The idea was to let her songs ring plainly in space, rendered on piano instead of her usual synth pop settings. Mythopoetics retains traces of that original conceit, like the brief opener "Fabric," a spacious, serene track that's easy to imagine Rose playing on piano in an otherwise empty room.
For half a decade, the work of New York artist Half Waif, the orchestral, synth-rock brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Nandi Rose, has patiently flown under everyone's radar. Her sophomore effort 'Lavender' and it's follow up 'The Caretaker' centered around Rose's own anxious manifestations: generous bouquets of tunes about pushing away your loved ones, and the grand sonic gestures of what aftermath lingers from those disconnects. But on 'Mythopoetics', Rose, with the help of virtuoso Zubin Hensler, expertly gains momentum and builds off of the solitary genius of the record's predecessors.
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