Aya Nishina – Flora

Composer Aya Nishina’s debut album Flora will harken a sensory overload of bewilderment and pleasurable fascination that will leave the listener in a willing state of lost. Newcomers to Nishina’s spirited works will experience new harmonious sounds that are as strange and foreign as they are welcoming and soothing to the ear.

Each of the 6 pieces possess a mysterious grip with different intent. Nishina’s works are alien, full of unprovoked emotion – never aggressive, never passive and for the most part almost undefinable. It’s easy to see the influence of John Zorn and Ryuichi Sakamoto, former mentors of Nishina, with the felt expressions and symbolic spirituality throughout the record, immediately apparent on the opening track “Cheiko.”

Not one moment on Flora is understated or without feeling – everything is poured out. “S.S.S.” – a complete work of art with its layered endless voices is an entrancing composition, creating a pitch perfect warp of reality. “Terrain” is a chilling and haunting statement of echoing beauty, while “Ode To Infinity” will remind listeners to Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” with its nurturing and alluring lush chorale of notes.

Above all, the absolute masterpiece off the record is the serene conclusion title track – an 11-minute wave of emotional simplicity and yet so deeply profound in meaning.

Rarely is a record so fresh and completely shrouded under a veil of warmth that it’s practically an escape drug. Flora will make you leave you with a heavy heart but one that is full of unknowing compassion with an embrace that never lets go.

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