BLUME (NÉRIJA)

RELEASED 2ND AUGUST 2019

Favourite track: Blume

A talented set of individuals have crafted an album that has a heavy jazz sound married at times to the sound of Funk or Hip-Hop. Grab a glass of whiskey or wine and take in the sound of modern city sophistication

Finding out that Nérija are a jazz collective from London who include Soul, Hip-Hop and Funk into their music had me VERY intrigued. I didn’t know what to expect at all but the description was enough to make me think that this is the kind of music we need in 2019…less commercial and more niche. I mean, for me at least, I find that multi-genre music makes for some excellent tracks that stay with you a lot longer than commercial music. Blume’s album cover is quite an artistic blocky image on a white background. It looks like a flower on a branch (not sure how I got that but maybe it’s up to your own interpretation?). Either way, the 10 track album had me wanting to press play.

Image credit: NÉRIJAmusic

‘Nascence’ opens with a solo brass instrument that then builds into a funky swing style drum kit with added instruments. Instantly I was transported to the balcony of a Jazz café at night lit up with lanterns and overseeing a bustling city view. The melody was quite consistent and the dynamics of the piece worked well with it being repetitive, strong and loud in places and then back down to a very chilled sound, especially around 3 minutes in. ‘Riverfest’ revitalised the atmosphere with a sudden and brash introduction with far more movement and power brought about probably through the cymbals clashing in the background.

‘Last Straw’ has such a mysterious sound like a character in a movie is up to no good. It had that old school detective, murder-mystery sound which puts you on the edge of your seat. You expect there to be some sort of “cat and mouse” chase going on. I liked the simplicity of a plucked bass running through ‘Partner Girlfriend Lover’ which then became quite romantic and lifted at around 40 seconds into the song. The electric guitar is also a nice touch to vary the song and attribute the Funk element to it. ‘EU (Emotionally Unavailable)’ was a modern title for seemingly old school style music but I think that’s what Nérija are all about. There was something about the brass in this piece that meant it was more melancholic and yet still tried to remain strong. I always think it’s crazy how when an instrumental piece is composed, especially ones that rely on traditional jazz instruments, it’s almost like the instruments tell their own story and have their own characters coming through.

‘Blume’ has a gorgeous, chilled electric guitar opening with a stunning melody. It relaxed me straight away and the introduction of the brass this time was far more subtle and slow. It was also nice to hear some vocals at around 1 minute 30 which added another dimension to the music. ‘Equanimous’ opened with a very Eastern or perhaps African percussion that was then accompanied by some brass to keep with the jazz feel. ‘Swift’ is also another one that had jazz accompanied with another genre or sound, this time it was more Funk and had a RnB or Hip-Hop style percussion at the start, same with ‘Unbound’. The final song, ‘Unbound II’ continued the gentleness present in ‘Blume’ so it made for a lovely finish.

This album is perfect for exactly what I had imagined it being for. An evening on a balcony at a jazz café overlooking a stunning city view.