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Nailah Hunter

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Nailah Hunter

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Spells
Spells (LP + booklet)
Cat: LR 168LP. Rel: 08 Jan 21
Ambient/Drone
  1. Soil: Song Of Silence (1:10)
  2. Ruins (1:58)
  3. Enter (1:44)
  4. Quiet Light (1:59)
  5. White Flower, Dark Hill (2:28)
  6. Talisman (2:00)
  7. Nacre Meadow (6:09)
  8. Listening Sea (9:37)
Review: Multi-instrumentalist and composer Naliah Hunter's debut, 'Spells', is a much-needed slice of ambient fantasy. The project began as an "exercise in reclamation" over her own musical motivations, and resulted in a 6-track ritual in which each piece represents a different kind of magic spell.

Like protective water, air and fire charms, Hunter takes on many incantatory roles. She is a vocalist, harpist, and synth player. Her harp, in particular, takes centre stage; the calming wind spell 'Quiet Light', for example, is an embellishment of scale flourishes and dangling chimes.

Hunter likens her studio to an altar, taking ritualistic care to light candles and incense while creating. Like the track 'Talisman' - with sprinklings of midrange tones, relieved breaths and interpretive semi-lyrics - her music is intended for healing. A chunk of the album's proceeds are being given to the Loveland Foundation, which provides therapy for young black women.

Like beautiful but dissolving memories, every track fades out only after around two minutes, like the effusive wispiness of an apprentice wizard's practice. Speaking to KEXP, Hunter noted that her 'spells' had the express purpose of "creating locations away from here"; they are specifically "transportation spells". Fantasy has always been a genre of escape; like a timid fairy or Harry Potter snitch, the EP flits past in a wonderful plume of magic smoke.
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