When Tony Njoku introduced himself with In Greyscale – his debut album – two years ago, it was immediately evident that on our hands we had an artist who while embracing an abstract sense of form was not afraid to arrest with a frank and powerful sense of delivery. The record was informed by its title, steeped in a shadow of subtly twinkling synthetics and classically-informed piano that ghosted in the background, accompanying Njoku’s profound voice as he explored with an increasingly alluring mysticism. Emerging from the work was an artist merely beginning to explore their own abilities, and now Njoku returns, altering his own notion of what his music represents and in the process delivering what is once again an utterly enticing piece.
‘Remain Calm’, the latest single to emerge from Njoku’s second full- length H.P.A.C., materialises as a sharp and invigorating piece. Laced with a brooding sense of anxiety, the singular sounds weave amongst each other at one moment and clash the next, swarming amongst a consistent, entrancing percussive beat. It’s as powerful and direct as Njoku’s voice, intensely lucid as a seeming weight of setback and disillusionment reigns within his words, “The cost is so wrong, how much would you pay. Like life has no worth. And out the ocean, in comes a great wave, I must remain calm.” It’s spoken pivotally, the oppressive rush of the hyper-modern nature of life channelled into Njoku’s fixations and concerns, a self-prescribed sense of serenity breaking piece by piece as distorted electronics shatters the track, floating emptily away, the silence that follows piercing as it speaks a thousand unheard words.
For this week’s Guest Selection, Tony Njoku has curated an all encompassing collection of artists who have consistently, and at times seemingly effortlessly, recast the way we explore themes and perspectives within music. Whether through the organic, Brazilian rhythms of Moreno Veloso, the cinematic explorations of orchestra from Jonny Greenwood or the simply stunning emphasise of bare, human vulnerability that is exorcised by Bjork & Arca, Njoku has delved and invited us to engage with his rich and comprehensive penchants.
Njoku’s new album H.P.A.C. is due for release 27th April 2018 via Silent Kid Records. Njoku is set to play a headline show at DIY Space for London on March 1st.