BEGIN WITHIN – OUT 11TH NOVEMBER
LISTEN TO THE LAUNCH TRACK, ‘NAKED EYE’
NICOLAS BOUGAÏEFF has announced a new album, Begin Within, and shared the first track, ‘Naked Eye’. Begin Within, the Berlin-based, Canadian artist’s second album for Mute (following 2020’s The Upward Spiral), is released on vinyl, CD and digitally on 11 November 2022.
Begin Within is an album that embodies huge musical and personal evolution, with Bougaïeff working on entirely new sonic terrain, using his voice as an instrument for the first time. “It’s the sound of me grappling with transformation,” he explains.
Listen to the launch track, ‘Naked Eye’, which fuses a mangled beat with a seamless vocal melody, and watch the video directed by Paul Broese here:
The role of the voice adds a new dimension and dynamic to the shape, tone and groove of the record and is also symbolic of Bougaïeff quite literally finding his own. “There’s a few major themes with this album and honesty is one of them,” he says. “I went through years of physical and emotional masochism as a kind of immersive shock therapy to jolt me into understanding something.” He continues: “I lost myself to a degree and Begin Within was the beginning of a process of mental reconciliation and internal unity manifested in my art.”
Bougaïeff’s voice features on every track. Sometimes it’s distorted and treated as it coalesces into fractured beats, at other times it’s more obvious, and clear. This vocal element also allowed him to explore personal stories and narratives, “Another major theme is ‘intimate Berlin stories’,” he says. “It’s about several breakups, some recent, some not so. I opened myself up emotionally and I learned to speak about my emotions. It may sound strange but this was just something that I didn’t do before.” These intimate Berlin stories are manifested in field recordings from nights out – at locations such as the Berghain bathroom – recreating crepuscular adventures.
Despite this being an album rooted in emotion, personal transformation and communicating new feelings, it’s still an incredibly smartly crafted piece of work. Bougaïeff is, after all, a hugely experienced composer who has studied electroacoustic composition and has a doctorate on minimal techno. “On ‘Begin Within’, the beginning is in the middle, and the music radiates out from there, so if you listen to the title track in forward and reverse it’s the exact same thing. Inner Pattern is a polytemporal locked groove in the first half, which unfolds in the second half.”
Musically the album is an eclectic one, veering from glitchy IDM to immersive ambient, and from experimental pop to jagged electronica and throughout, the sound of transformation, both musical and personal, is something that is inescapable.
BEGIN WITHIN TRACKLIST:
Pain Goes Away