My favorite styles of art are able to depict powerful emotions vividly (to me). I love bands like Brand New, American Football, Car Seat Headrest, The Microphones, and others for doing this so well. Other solo artists like Still Woozy, Clairo, Yeek, and Grimes depict emotion to me, too. Growing up, these bands and artists made me feel safe and more at peace with myself.
Emotion, musical evolution, realism, surrealism - these aspects collide and co-mingle effortlessly on NK Music’s “Sun” EP, a modern Chillhop creation by the Arkansas-based artist (USA). "Sun" feels like a uniquely American album, even though the tastemakers place the cradle of Chillhop somewhere in Europe, but NK Music's far reaching EP rejects easy definition, and leaves the listener curious, delighted, satisfied, and head bobbing in a most vibey fashion. With this producer's facile skillset brimming with uniquely American influences - Soul, Funk, Jazz, Baptist church music, & Blues - it informs and expands the listener's universe, creating a brand new musical space that truly didn't exist before NK thought it up.
I currently live in the northwest corner of Arkansas. I have grown up here my whole life, and I definitely think that the area plays a role in the music that I make. The northwest corner of Arkansas isn't known for its artistic or musical background, but the memories that I've made growing up here and the people I've known along the way influence how I produce.
I love naming my projects after Greek Gods, moons, planets, or other celestial objects. It's just another small way to differentiate my music in the LoFi Hip Hop sphere. I would describe its sound as authentic, live, and soulful (as typical for my sound).
- NK Music
NK Music provided a few project name ideas, one of which was "Sun". I noticed his discography used plenty of collage style designs and I loved that. To keep it consistent, I commissioned Opas Sarna for his nostalgic, ethereal collage-style work. The project presents divine titles & ideas, so I thought it fitting to set the location within the vast universe with abstract Greek elements.
-Damon Broussard, Behind Walls Media
Opas Sarna's organic, collage-style work unified the visual + musical aspects of the project together, and actually enhanced the sense of "musical collage" we feel like NK Music is experimenting with on "Sun." Get this - he gives ancient Greek song titles to his Soul, Funk, Jazzhop, & Blues music, set inside a LoFI song structure using modern Chillhop production sense - welcome to "audio collage," folks.
So, the artwork goes like this: A tuxedo’d gentleman gazing at a tie-dye planet rising over the horizon of a coral reef lunar landscape, which happens to be populated by giant heads of classical Greek statues while the vast, celestial expanse of space looms in the cold and unforgiving distance. The whiplash irrationality of Opas Sarna's epic artwork is both intriguing and puzzling, lighthearted and deadly serious, and playfully absurd. It's the perfect conceptual amalgam to represent NK Music's heavy musical offering, but cannot be fully appreciated apart from the music itself. Let's go there -
"Sun" sounds and feels to us like a carefully executed "space walk through music history" excursion, with a futuristic, interplanetary Greek god as our tour guide. It's an album that visits us from the past, the present, and the future, full of rich, organic, hard hitting drum kit vibes, wonderfully melodic & expressive bass lines, carefully curated samples, and super authentic production style that is clean, natural, and turntable-warm. Enjoy this audio tour of the "Sun" EP with accompanying thoughts from the artist himself:
"Calleis"- Straight out of the 70’s, “Calleis” is a strong, groove-based Hollywood soul song, laced with ethereal synth echoes, lush string pads, 70’s television horn section, and a fat fat fat acoustic drum kit sound. The bass guitar is commanding and chunky, but light and nimble, smartly navigating and threading together the dense chord structure of this vibing, throwback-inspired nugget.
I started music production when I was 14 in 2014. I remember watching my favorite rappers on YouTube showing their process on FL Studio, and I thought it was so cool to see that. Especially watching the creators getting hyped/excited about the beat that they made, it was awesome. -NK Music
“Cinyras” - Has the most outer-space feel to it, like the hatch has just opened on our orbiting module and we’ve started floating around in the atmosphere of deep space. It feels slow and languid, but the bass line (again, that bass!!) is pulsing beneath the calm, dancing up and down the fretboard, reminding the listener of the 1,000 small calculations necessary for a successful space walk - and song construction - setting the tone for 3 minutes of sheer pleasure, discovery, and musical nuance. This music sounds like it came from the past, but it’s DNA is kinda futuristic. And even though the DNA feels futuristic, you can't ignore the huge effect the American musical landscape has had on NK Music's production choices and sound.
Ever since my debut release Andromeda in 2019 I've wanted to expand the genre, and give the sound something new. I always attempt to blend the genres of chill hop, jazz hop, soul, funk, jazz and blues into the LoFi genre. -NK Music
Eulabeia - Brings me back to daytime television of the 70’s. The drums and bass keep the listener honest - real live instruments with organic excitement - while strings, vibraphone, and mellotron (?) phrase and rephrase the melody. Then, surprise surprise! a gentle choir section appears to bring the listener to the final destination of this solar journey - consolation. The addition of the voices in “Eulabeia” feels like coming home, like the journey is finalized and the end goal is finally revealed.
Listening to music has always been (as cliche as it sounds) an escape from the constant anxiety in my life. I learn new stuff everyday from them: how to be better, how to be okay, etc. - NK Music
“Ang” - A jazzy, old-school R&B number with a chilled-out cleverness to it, “Ang” feels like a mellow lounge-bar artist on the jazz organ jamming with his 18-year old grandkid. This sounds like historic LoFi - before LoFi was even born - a church-ified gospel flavor dominates in “Ang”, reminding listeners that all music that has come before is still with us, woven in the fabric of the instruments, feelings, and sensibilities of the modern producer.
I try to add emotion and feeling into my beats, as I feel I am very in tune with my own emotions. My favorite records growing up in high school (American Football, Brand New, Car Seat Headrest) play huge influences in how I depict that emotion through my work. - NK Music
My goal for the 2022 year was to expand my music and network with new LoFi artists, labels, and listeners.
I have tried numerous times to make more contemporary or mainstream sounding beats, but it never has been satisfactory for me. I don't think I would ever stray far from my live sounding organic sound.
NK Music's "Sun" EP heralds a new direction in Lofi Chillhop: A call back to the American sound of Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop; A call to notice the culture that music comes from; A call to engage, appreciate, and dig into our own musical heritage as NK has so eloquently and playfully done with this project. We're stoked to release this album and we hope that listeners everywhere will join us on this continuing voyage - Tsunami Sounds & Behind Walls Media