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Riaan Nieuwenhuis: Reminiscence

A compelling, multi-faceted composition of remarkable scope.

5 Jun 2018 / Opinion, Review / written by Skye Mallac

Burgeoning jazz and blues textures meet electro distortions and gritty rock riffage in Riaan Nieuwenhuis’ latest compilation: a ten-track exploration of dynamic sound gathered beneath the umbrella of “Reminiscence”.

As something of a composition veteran in SA, the multi-instrumentalist has carved a unique niche for himself within the vast scope of purely instrumental composition. This offering, which progresses in what feels like three distinct parts, takes his experimentalism to brand new levels.

Multi-layered, world influences stack upon one another in the jazzy, trip-hop leanings of ‘Silk’; and the fibrillating four-chord bass-line of ‘Cruising’ firmly tethers the otherwise cluttered, uncontained track. Woody percussive effects interweave the sound, lending an earthy veneer to the creeping pace of ‘The Point’ and ‘Summer Afternoon’, while chiming Eastern influence soaks the tactful variances of ‘First Out’.

The latter half of the album finds itself knee-deep in gritty rock riffs, which cut corners around its frenetic pace and unheralded spacey synth lines.

This is a composer with a mind spilling over with ideas, and almost too many tools at his disposal – but when then time comes to lay them down he does so with easy grace, jumping nimbly from meaty rock chords to lilting jazz piano conclusions.

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Listen to the album on Apple Music.