Review: Poppy Nogood – Collected Works

Poppy Nogood - Collected Works“Each seemingly disparate piece,” writes Poppy Nogood, “is connected by the central role of the computer as a branching off point in infinite directions.”

The computer, of course, can be something of a cluster bomb as a point of mutual intersection. It can add fiercely transformative processes to sounds and send musical shrapnel in every direction, masking all routes back to itself through the sheer panoramic splay of its potential. Thank goodness that Nogood, as an entity, doesn’t disappear amidst that manipulative churn of digital processing. More so than the computer, these pieces are unified by the potent taste of her personal aesthetic, which sounds a bit like someone doing a handstand at the edge of a cliff – liberating and wholly precarious, marvelling at the fragility of itself.

The drones of bowed strings curve across the back of the image like seagulls, rising and falling as if trying to remain in parallel with the electronic waves that stir beneath. Suspension is a huge part of the listening experience – her strange harmonic structures hang from the ceiling, while melodies are formed in the ungainly, winch-instigated shift between chords, where notes slide unglamorously upward as particular ropes are pulled or slackened. The computer is there – a glistening sheen coating those swoops of digital texture, or pseudo-tribal rhythmic loops, spotlessly replicated – but Nogood has found a means of pushing back against its flawless processing power, whether via harmonic polygons that fray and bend or the surreal alien energy that propels those pieces of acid trip rocket corridor electro-pop.