Celebrating the interconnected strands of head-tripping electronica she holds dear, Nadia Struiwigh arrives on Dekmantel with her fourth album of widescreen machine soul. Birds Of Paradise joins the dots between electro, techno, ambient and jungle as a reflection of the symbiotic relationship between the contrasting elements which drive all life on earth – the inescapable and chaotic forces of cause and effect. Echoing the free-spirited approach of electronic music in the mid-90s, it’s an album which rejects absolutes in favour of emotionally honest expression, true to Struiwigh’s deeply felt passion for the sounds and styles which defined her own journey into music.
Since first emerging in the wider scene, Struiwigh has ably demonstrated her instinct for different sonic approaches across her accomplished career, whether exploring expansive ambience on album projects or holding down the physical intensity of a residency at Berlin techno temple Tresor. Her 2017 debut album Lenticular on Central Processing Unit most closely resembles the approach on Birds Of Paradise, where introspective beat constructions and nuanced sound design folded into a natural, flowing whole unbound by perceived rules around genre. The narrative flow uses contrasting energies to glide though distinctive spaces, unfolding with the considered pace of a truly immersive listening experience.
From the rich, undulating beatless pastures of ‘JSF48’ to the intricate mechanics of ‘02nd’, the dubby downtempo of ‘cmmn cmmn’ to the crunchy beatdown of ‘Dreamsynth’, the spaces Struiwigh defines on Birds Of Paradise are brilliantly vivid and bound together by an affinity for emotionally-charged ambience. At times the effect is nostalgic, calling to mind the exotic ecosystems of Future Sound Of London or Higher Intelligence Agency, but even these passages are charged with a restless futurism informed by the imagined vistas of science fiction as a comment on the realities of the here and now.
Widely recognised for her expertise in a multitude of production processes (not least her extensive knowledge of outboard gear), Birds Of Paradise pools Struiwigh’s devotion to her craft into an exquisite instant-classic to be savoured and absorbed in the same fashion as so many iconic electronica albums which have come before.