It’s rare that I get multiple submissions from someone that makes me feel compelled to share all of them. Nicole Oberle’s output, however, is unique in that way as it covers quite a bit of ground in three tracks from Grouper-esque minimal compositions to in-the-red ambient work that borders on harsh noise. 


“A Knot in Twos” begins with gently strummed guitar before a wave of softened noise sweeps across submerging and peaking before the guitars come back in and Oberle’s spoken word poetry recalls a moment of vulnerability. The track ends on an ominous note, fading out with a menacing drone with time-stretched human voice caught in the machine. 


“Azalea” begins with a heavily distorted voice stating “I hope you are happier”. This same kind of emotional transparency in song reminds me of the devastating Wind Up Bird album “Whips” where the emotional center-piece of the album is a voicemail of a break up, distorted until it is pure harsh tones. The heaviness of the content on “Azalea” is offset by a gorgeous piano melody that is interrupted by fragments of digital scarring from the original voice message. 


The most song-song of the trio, “Little Fawn” aches with its own unshared narrative. Once again composed around a simple keyboard line with shifting drones lightening the corners, “Little Fawn” holds the promise of sliding into darker, harsher territory but maintains its reverent sadness until the end. 


Despite it’s heavy title, “Choke” is Oberle’s most hopeful and grounded track presented here. It’s heavily edited guitar lines make brief appearances underneath the heavy blanket of a warm drone that signals into the red without ever going there. The human voice comes in on waves of soft distortion before clearing away to reveal itself as a far away thing, sounding through layers of fog and mental cobwebs to reach us.

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