NYXEN continues to impress with ‘In the City’
Sydney-based all-rounder NYXEN made a name for herself by producing smooth house music that taps into the energy of summer but eschews the cheapness of crowd-baiting drops in doing so. Instead, her music works for that feeling, constantly finding clever ways in and out of it through shifts in emotion and groove. It’s not always easy to pull off, but she manages once again with her latest track, ‘In the City’.
Despite being a prolific multi-instrumentalist, NYXEN demonstrates an admirable level of restraint, keeping the instrumentation to a minimum, and moving away from her musical background in guitar, which featured so prominently in her earlier work. Instead, arpeggiated synths swirl around deep in the mix, while punchy drums cut through and NYXEN’s naked, vulnerable voice balances delicately atop everything. It all gives the track the kind of incessant forward momentum that makes it an ideal driving song.
Here, NYXEN keeps her finger on the dial, constantly building up energy through subtle variations in her layering, and just when you think she’s ready to release all this pent-up energy, the track fades away to a four-on-the-floor beat and some bright pianos. Then, ushered in by NYXEN’s plea to “allow [her] to cry”, she unleashes a soaring, wordless melody of a chorus, chopping up and sampling her own voice in a way that’s reminiscent of the very best ODESZA songs.
It’s so captivating that occasionally, everything will cut out, and for a few microseconds you’re left worrying that it might not come back, before NYXEN plugs the momentary silence with a drum fill to bring the melody back in. Nothing’s changed per se, but you feel it slightly stronger than you did before – it’s a testament to NYXEN’s use of subtlety in constructing her productions, especially for someone who only started producing in 2015.
‘In the City’ continues NYXEN‘s trend of producing smart, summer-tinged house that doesn’t rely on cheap shortcuts – she’s quickly building a rep for it. The single is out soon through Unknown Records, and comes off the back of her single from earlier this year, ‘Is It Love’ and her 2016 debut EP, Running.
WORDS BY KYLE FENSOM