Jon B reviews the début EP from experimental electronica artist, Sinah.
Nobody Knows is the 4-track, début EP from Berlin-born artist, Sinah, released on her own label, ZNA Records. Sinah (pronounced Xena) has had an interesting and varied background; from originally favouring a career as an oceanologist (until a fear of sharks put paid to that) all the way to busking in Brooklyn, New York. After working as a session musician stateside, she settled in London, where she then began working on her own musical début.
Sinah styles herself an experimental artist, but credits electronic musicians, such as Nicholas Jaar, as her major influences. Whilst she is not keen to define her genre, it is clear that there is a heavy leaning towards the softer beats of ‘chill-out’ electronica. That said, the influence of her hip-hop experience in New York is clearly evident in the combination of beats in ‘Nobody Knows’, the lead track, which are juxtaposed with pleasant piano riffs. A couple of minutes into the track and a heavier dance-influenced beat kicks in, with Sinah whispering lines such as ‘ You cannot talk to me’. Following on from this, the track takes a change in direction, losing its initial beats and petering out to the end. It certainly is experimental and the combinations are interesting, but it runs the risk of blending away and not particularly holding the attention.
The EP is supported by three other tracks of varying quality. The best feature of the second track, ‘Harder’, is clearly the artist’s vocal delivery and some of the lyrics themselves are pleasantly catchy, such as ‘It’s getting harder and harder for me / to put one foot in front of the other’. The layers of keyboard instrumentation are competently arranged, but if we’re honest, there isn’t much here that hasn’t been heard elsewhere.
The third track, ‘True to Yourself’, bears testament to the artist’s clear desire to experiment, but the extent to which it works is questionable. From its haunting opening sections, the track takes a radical turn around the one minute mark, with the inclusion of an overbearing chorus of bells and a rough keyboard arrangement that obscures the vocals - from there on the track meanders.
Final track ‘Home’ has more consistency; once one gets past the overly long intro which is made up of a series of rather conventional sounding beats, what remains is a pleasant enough chill-out track of the ilk heard playing in the background of a swanky bar at the start of an evening. Midway through, the track is broken up by a section of fresher beats and instrumentation, which does grab your attention, however this is rather short-lived.
There is nothing unpleasant about Sinah’s début EP, though ironically, for a self-styled experimental artist, she achieves greater success on her arguably more conventional tracks than the experimental ones. Part of the problem is that the listener is left with the feeling that they’re listening to an early demo by an artist trying a number of approaches, rather than a polished end product. Sinah clearly has potential, but maybe needs more time to hone her craft.
Go Get It: ‘Nobody Knows’
Forget It: ‘True to Yourself’