Slowspin – Nightfall’s Reverie
It is easy to lose yourself in the unfolding dreams of Nightfall’s Reverie. The EP unfurls like a thoughtfully arranged constellation of Haikuesque stories with Zeerak Ahmed – aka Slowspin – drawing upon her own narrative to make humbling, life-affirming music. Immediately striking in Nightfall’s Reverie are Slowspin’s nimble voice and the overall atmospheric with which she aspires to do something bigger than what the margins of her own inner worlds allow. Her murmurs and visions are dazzling because they all fade away too soon, which is why you cannot help but cherish them as your own forever.
You find yourself riffling through a journey drenched in reverb and far-off exhalations – a crystalline fairytale you could easily mistake for your own. But Slowspin’s self-contained reality is just as important to the EP’s narrative arc as the sense of otherworldliness that surrounds it. This is best outlined in ‘You Do,’ where she is found raising a few simple questions with charming ambivalence, while also tapping into a vein of expression that is very emotive. “Do you think about me all the time?” It’s a telling line, a heart-stopper that fills your soul with longing. ‘Half’ haunts its listeners in a similar way – there’s no escaping those “nostalgic, warm sounds” reminiscent of all we remember faintly, as Slowspin’s voice swells with a sense of something pure in reach.
This is music about a dream-state, about day and night and faraway landscapes, but it’s still so human and intimate throughout. Slowspin’s unique, misty atmospheric finds a particular form of serenity in ‘Early Eyes’ which, to me, encapsulates the experience of listening in on someone’s private, exquisitely realized account of waking up. Similarly, in both ‘Night Spins’ and ‘His,’ the inner dialogue of someone lost in her own mysteries is captured beautifully. Slowspin keeps proving that it never hurts to have your art and life unfurl in a way that is inimitable – yours alone. “Who will I become tomorrow?” Her tales are a perfect blend of strummed acoustic guitar and fluttering whispers – a part and parcel of an immediately identifiable soundworld.
However, in ‘Aslant’ we find ourselves in murkier terrain, with the presence of unsettling sounds and whispers ringing to underscore the disconnectedness of Slowspin’s carefully constructed world. Dreams contrast sharply with existential anxieties (“conscious intentions and thoughts / sinking, sinking, sinking”), but the songs that follow quickly move away from this conflict. ‘B,’ for instance, is anything but downcast. It works as a siren-song that completely embraces the idea of optimism and ethereality – of “diving forth, forth, forth.” Melodies and visions of “what you’re left to choose from” are not only more exposed but hopeful too. The EP’s overall magnanimity finally bursts through family: ‘So’ and ‘Goldenone,’ with choruses reminding us that living is very much like dreaming, so we should “never prepare what to say.”
These homespun stories are many things: short and sweet, private, childlike, absurd, delightful, and ultimately larger than life.As dream folk as her music may be, the stories are where Nightfall’s Reverie packs its heaviest, redolent of a world that’s far removed from the harsh realities of cities and shouts of people outside. To Slowspin, maps and images of the tactile world can suddenly turn into something magical anytime. This is her gift: of transport, and the ability to put across her fantasy.
It makes perfect sense that Slowspin should become a new type of heroine as a : young woman within the bustle and turbulence of her own physical surroundings, where field recordings and guitar strings give her the strength to stand by everything she has ever thought or said, secrets included. She has tapped into that perfect space between her voice and music, consequently gifting us with some of the most impactful sonic moments of 2013 with regards to Pakistani indie music. Moreover, these moments are distinctly female – this is music that is simply stunning, that takes you places, which is why you can’t help but immerse yourself in this reverie wholeheartedly.
written by Zoya Rehman
artwork by Samya Arif