Hailing from Seattle Washington, Monika Khot produces music under the Nordra moniker and is now releasing her self-titled debut album. Coming out from SIGE records, her record encompass a diverse set of elements, which while at first glance might appear inhumane and mechanical, under the surface contain moving moments and a lot of emotion. The album was initially released last September, but will be soon available on vinyl through SIGE.
The backbone of the record is established by the electronic percussion, acting as an anchor to the hypnotic trip Khot is orchestrating. The noise elements and heavier experimentation all circulate around this industrial-esque foundation, as revealed from the opening track “Apologise To Me, Humanity.” Progression-wise alone this is an intriguing offering, not only in the manner the album is laid out, but how the individual tracks evolve. There is an almost orchestral dimension to the appearance of each element, with Khot conducting an ever-changing piece, where each note has its place and purpose.
The noise takes its cue from that progression, especially when it is on its percussive form. Blips and short bursts lend a glitch theme to the album, crafting the dissonant edge of this work. The opening track displays that method, and more extreme is the case of “This Is Dissent” as the instantaneous noise eruptions float to the surface, growing to an infinite number. On the other hand, longer strings of noise are also apparent, as in “Regret 1,” radiating with a drone-like perspective and an electrified sense through the space.
However, despite the mechanized backbone and the allure towards noise, the record also tends towards something more humane. The bleak scenery is very nicely implemented in the opening track, changing the facade of the work towards the more moving. Under a different light, Khot builds an ominous background for “Regret 1,” which creates a contradiction to the electric, noise craft aspects of the foreground. The movement from one place to the other does not feel forced, with Nordra always establishing a cohesive narrative to the changes, no matter if they come abruptly or through smooth transitions. This experimental outlook is also capable of altering the perception towards the industrial percussion, as it occurs with “New Cycles.” Through the use of effects, the progression gains a psychedelic twist, making everything appear as if melting away, and creates an impressive build-up to the mesmerizing journey through expanding soundscapes.
The final touch that really completes this work is the singer-songwriter injection that Khot is able to fit within the core of the work. Exploring the desolate environment through minimal instrumentation and her voice, she crafts the space and ambiance around, bringing a further layer of experimentation to the surface. The imbalance and adventurous attitude still remains, with something twisted always lurking just beneath the ground level, and it is that which really connects the dots here. This is how Nordra has produced an excellent work of experimental depth and sonic tinkering, while including further layers feeling than other of her co-adventurers.