Carte Blanche to Ben UFO
(Blackest Ever Black, Golden Pudel - GER)
There is a sureness that underlies Nina’s sets. A ricocheting swarm of musique concrète’s contemporary tearaway forms sit at the deep end, and an assembly of exploratory sound practices beckon us out from the shallows. Liable to combust into a wave of percussive shards and staccato shrapnel to rival techno’s own claims, it’s both tonic and confronting to bear witness to.
Working as a DJ at the border between coruscating sentiment and desolate surrender, Nina summons enough of an intuition about a space and its dynamics to prompt a club’s darkness to cave to her selection, to have the darkness address you personally. All this has been honed from her now infamous base at Golden Pudel, Hamburg. The Nina trifft nights, like Hamburg itself, are a hub. Miles Whittaker, DJ Richard, Lussuria, Shapednoise, and Christoph de Babalon, amongst many others, have been brought through over the years. As a place of incubation, as well as a place of play, it is an ever-developing filter for Nina’s particular form of immersion and suspense.
Artful imagination and dexterity is a rare combination, and it is this that Nina has forged her reputation with. She side-steps the often callow antics that persistently frame the noisier forms of difficult music—there is no rhetorical onslaught or assault, there is instead a direct opportunity for you to be fundamentally changed by what you hear and feel. Her opening set at Unsound in 2015 is still spoken of, amongst her appearances at Berghain, Contort, Blackest Ever Black, and The Trilogy Tapes, where she has shared line-ups with Silent Servant, Shackleton, Raime, Mika Vaino, Samuel Kerridge, Kassem Mosse, Black Rain, and Cut Hands to name just a handful.
2014 saw the release of her mixtape ‘No Observable Effect Concentration’ on Blackest Ever Black’s Krokodilo Tapes label, selling out immediately. Along with Good News, ‘Untitled (OHM 12.8.16)’ was released in 2016, marking the first in BEB’s Id Mud imprint. Whilst her label V I S, another joint effort with Good News, has to come present a enviable selection of thoughtful, experimental releases on record and cassette.
Though it is often overlooked, ambient music has a critical, razor edge.
Nina appears to be sharpening it.