‘Tempo-pushing percussion and shameless 80’s influences make you feel like you’ve jumped in a musical time machine.’
Intro to Other Nature
Channeling a true 80’s pop sound with ‘Walking a Wall’ back in May, Other Nature – comprised of Sena Verdi and Tariq Khan – return with another incredible offering. In some ways the level of musicality should be no surprise. After all with Sena having previously worked alongside the likes of Paul Oakenfold and with Tariq being related to Natasha Khan aka Bat for Lashes you would kind of expect it. However the level of authenticity is. Combining undeniable influences, the resulting sound is almost indistinguishable from that of Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode who are among their inspirations. However, even if you didn’t know that, you can’t fail to notice the seamless blend of nostalgia. Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Other Nature
Bursting into life in the most unapologetic of ways, a heavy, anthemic statement of ‘You and me count to three na na na’ gets the cogs of the musical machine moving straightaway. Accompanied but nothing other than electronic percussion and a vocoder set delay of the title, it’s clear that the duo want us to pay attention. In truth we have no option but to do exactly that. However, instrumentally grabbing our attention just as much, these forceful vocals break into something quite different.
Throwing us into an unquestionable 80’s sound, we get the first of many opportunities to hear the real influences that run through Other Nature’s music. This time though, it really is like we have climbed into a musical time machine. Filled with Casio-keyboard-esque orchestral hits, driving synth lines and hectic, tempo pushing drums it really is hard to believe the track has been written in 2019!
Reaching the initial verse, the sensation just created very much remains the same, but in switching up the instrumental content, contrast occurs. Now featuring piano, more-regular drums and selectively placed synth hooks, our focus moves to the vocal elements. Like the accompanying elements, the sound of influence runs through the lyrics and their settings with them being highly prominent, but much softer and more sustained than the initial statement. Additionally, selective echo and reverb pads out rare – in fact very rare – moments of space and multiple vocals bring appropriate harmony.
Moving into the pre-chorus, the sound shifts once more to one that resembles the opening, but cleverly ties in with the lyrical content. Opening with one of the many vocal hooks, the extended phrase of ‘we were racing down the line’ brings an inferred sense of energy while the backing is much more blatant. Becoming spectacularly hectic and sounding like a classic arcade game giving a huge payout, arpeggiated synths dance among the powerful percussion. It’s quite the sound and guiding us to the full-on energy of the vocally syncopated, completely infectious chorus, you join in at breakneck speed.
Giving us a breather from the energetic musical onslaught, reaching the second verse, the atmosphere changes considerably with both the instrumental and vocal elements becoming much sparser. Softly drawing our attention to the vocal, we are able to fully appreciate the lyricism and with various references back to the title – ‘the nuts and bolts’, ‘the system faults’ and ‘we keep on moving though the wheels are off’ – you realise the double-meanings within. Combined with the selective use of fragment melodies and interlocking instrumental injections, it’s an impressive sound.
Proving the success of the earlier content, on reaching the pre-chorus hook, and the chorus itself for a second time, both become even stronger. Subliminally encouraging us to join in through it’s sheer musicality, you do exactly that and with the opening statement repeated following this, you shout ‘We could be a beautiful machine’ from the rooftops. However, with the focus having been once again on the vocals, the time arrives for a showcase of instrumental form.
Changing dramatically to reveal sustained synth strings and more gently moving bass, the sound suddenly becomes much calmer than just now. Still harking back to the decade of influence in terms of production though it’s a welcome breather and makes for welcome contrast. This said, soon the atmosphere is to rebuild with earlier lyrics returning alongside new material such as arpeggiated guitar and rhythmically thumping toms.
Full of anticipation it hints that we may be heading somewhere new for the track’s final moments. And indeed we are. Fusing full-on electro-pop beats, chord-centred synth orchestral hits and phenomenal, distorted guitar solos, the most explosive of 80’s inspired climaxes occurs. Go on, jump in the Beautiful Machine now.