Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Mar 29th, 2021

Nicholas Gunn: Sound Condition

Nicholas Gunn
Sound Condition
(Blue Dot Studios)

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Having produced and composed over 21 studio albums and lending his talents to a score of other productions, we should expect a lot from electronic music composer Nicholas Gunn. He doesn’t disappoint on his new album, Sound Condition.

“The Unfolding,” which opens, certainly does ‘unfold,’ with breathy synths, single piano notes, and a mournful woodwind-sounding lead. Rising with a simple few note arpeggios behind it, the urgency of tone is set here for the rest of what follows. Then Gunn presents some perfectly plucky electric guitar over a shunky beat and twinkly keys on “Shine,” a song revealing a well of promise in its glistening.

“Angels,” created around an electric-drum beat, is the first to feature Alina Renae’s vocals, the first of three that do so on Sound Condition. The verses are simple, the chorus sweet, but beyond Gunn’s perfectly placed single notes behind Renae, this is pretty much a throwaway pop tune.

The title track once again sees Gunn using some shunky beats and arpeggiated backing keys, but he builds his high-flying single notes to full lead voiced effectiveness. And he really reaches his stride on the hesitant “Language.” Gunn’s single-note piano fighting to be heard and the urgency of the bed of sounds rushing to a startling lilting simple piano end makes for one of the best moments for me on all of Sound Condition.

“The Promise” ends, another song that features Alina Renae. It’s a positive yet plaintive song about fighting, love, and facing the future, leaving us with some sure hope after coming through the deep forest of sound and consideration Nicholas Gunn gives us here.

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Nicholas Gunn: Sound Condition