Nanaki :: The Dying Light

Mike Daugherty of Postcode has done it again, this time releasing a new collection under the band name Nanaki.

After releasing the Afterlight EP at the beginning of 2014, Daugherty released a new 12-track album on New Year’s Day through Small Bear Records (Nanaki’s first full-length album since Fashion is the Enemy of All Art in 2003). This new album, called The Dying Light, is inspired by philosophical writers like Kafka and Sartre, while embodying “the darkness in the heart of man”.

The album is more cohesive and coherent than previous releases as it explores musical trends like the heavier use of keyboards (with more piano and orchestral sounds). Unlike other albums that Daugherty has worked on, guitars are taking a backseat for once, though the album still holds his trademark guitar style.

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Mikie Daugherty of Postcode has done it again, this time releasing a new collection under the band name Nanaki.

After releasing the Afterlight EP at the beginning of 2014, Daugherty released a new 12-track album on New Year’s Day through Small Bear Records (Nanaki’s first full-length album since Fashion is the Enemy of All Art in 2003). This new album, called The Dying Light, is inspired by philosophical writers like Kafka and Sartre, while embodying “the darkness in the heart of man”.

Nanaki-1The album is more cohesive and coherent than previous releases as it explores musical trends like the heavier use of keyboards (with more piano and orchestral sounds). Unlike other albums that Daugherty has worked on, guitars are taking a backseat for once, though the album still holds his trademark guitar style.

Daugherty describes on his Postcode blog that the future of Nanaki was an uncertain one: “When Afterlight was released I had no plans regarding the future of Nanaki. I knew I would probably end up doing something at some point, but I was uncertain as to how far off that may be. As it happened, it didn’t take too long at all before I felt the desire to begin work on new material.”

We start off with an experimental clash in ‘I Have Outlived Myself’ that teases the audience with excitement then subdues itself before it feels it becomes too much to handle. It steadily builds back up again. You get the sense of the artists trying out something new – flirting with an ombre blue feel and escalating with intensity at given points. The song pans into a more dismal tune. The first impression was made and now the listener is carried on through with ‘Sackcloth And Ashes’. It differs itself from the first track with rhythm and tone, but is marked with a few signature styles. The softness is misleading as the music will likely pick back up into mania.

Now for something almost completely different. ‘The Land Surveyor’ comes as a sort of reprieve for all the doom and gloom of the previous songs. A sense of mystique carries on through the tune, but it sort of stops abruptly. Next is ‘Unholier Than Thou’: here’s that trademark rock grit that Daugherty has perfected. As much as I love the experimentation, it’s nice that this album kicked back to the source style. This sense of familiarity and grating tone makes this my favourite song on this collection.

‘Anonymous’ is sort of quirky in its makeup. This is the playful side of experimentation. Daugherty wanted to present doom and gloom with his album but I think even he had to take a break from the depression. It’s still a level song that matches its contemporaries in a sort of way. ‘Yoda’ is much lighter and contemplative. Hypnotizing in a certain sense – this song put me in a sort of trance.

Nanaki-2The song ‘Hiraeth’ is certainly a different kind of journey. It seems much more optimistic than the others in its collection. It holds the same sort of vibes as ‘Yoda’, though it’s more haunting with its slower tempo. ‘Perpetual Commotion’ has got that bass guitar tone with a more digital synthesis overlay. It carries that cryptic tone of the rest of the album.

‘There’s No Such Thing as Good’ puts a bit of a different edge to the album each time the song takes off into its own tirade. Like with every other song on the album, the beat is steady and well-considered. The beginning of ‘An Absence of Hope’ is – oddly enough – sounding somewhat hopeful. The tune plays around, though I never got the “hopeless” feel to the song. The bombastic ending justifies my claim.

With the next song, we have something that sounds sort of grungy for the album, but it is a relieving change. ‘False Optimism’ stands out amongst other songs in this collection. This album is doing well to accentuate what works and to weed out what doesn’t. This song does generate the feeling  of its namesake. ‘Lest Ye Be Judged’ is the contemplative end to the album. What I like about the tone of this one is that it seems to be reviewing itself and everything the album was. Like it’s considering what this experience meant for the listener.

To me, this album marked a milestone in Mikie Daughtery’s career. With this experimentation, I find most of the tracks work with the feeling they give off and the subject matter they convey. The most fantastic part of the album is how each song comes across as its own art installation and the album acts like its exhibition. I look forward to the furniture of Nanaki – and Postcode, for that matter.

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