A promise to myself was made eight years ago while wrapping up my review of Odeya Nini‘s debut, Vougheauxyice (Voice), that I would keep an eye out for any other examples of her multifaceted skill. Alas, the pledge was blatantly breached, for we were (involuntarily) blind to the release of 2021’s Voice Bath, a beautiful gathering of human resonances accompanied by crystal and Himalayan singing bowls, wind gongs, and koshi chimes. It will be good for you if it becomes a frequent listen going forward.
Fortunately, Nini didn’t wait too long to get started again. Currently, she is back with Ode, a new collection of pieces revolving around her extraordinary vocal prowess and flair for sound therapy. The album demonstrates a clear development of Nini’s uplifting potential, evoking a wide range of feelings through the use of the “original instrument”, bringing the listener inside each of these microcosms with a mixture of awe and appreciation. Not to mention the undeniable psychophysical well-being that comes with all of the above.
Aside from the propensity of the average critic to draw misleading and ultimately pointless analogies, one must recognize two key components. The first is Nini’s amazingly natural ability to drastically alter timbre over tiny periods of time, immediately audible in the opening “La La”. The second, maybe less obvious to the layperson, is the vocalist’s attribution of inherent compositional organization to cues that might be perceived as wholly improvised, but are not. Every emission and laryngeal bend implicitly heightens the fundamental rules of physics while referring to more obscure universal issues. Essentially, this set is another admirable illustration of Nini’s central premise, which is to manifestly exercise the physicality of the body in concert with voice transcendence to achieve higher realms of aliveness.
The enigmatically wavering, and sadly too brief “See Ma Tou”, or the subsequent, equally perplexing “Submerge”, may allay some of your doubts. Or perhaps add to them. Don’t be scared, and just go on. In an age when flaccid persons who are dirty within have practically stolen the spirit from significant segments of the world’s population, hearing statements of purity that only appear fragile but are actually as profoundly powerful as those offered by Odeya Nini is a tremendous consolation.