Niecy Blues

Exit Simulation

Kranky • 2023

Niecy Blues from South Carolina claims she forgets her body when she makes music. If you listen to her debut album »Exit Stimulation« you will understand what she’s talking about. A perfect fit for the otherworldly Kranky label, the LP features distant R&B vocals arranged over sparsely orchestrated jazz tracks. Blasts of piano on the second half of track 7, »Soma«, are joined by drums that, for a change, ground Niecy Blues’ disembodied drift to earth and take away its ghostly quality. »U Care« quotes trip-hop tropes with an incomparably flat beat and a seductive yet weepy acoustic guitar, while vocal sections overlap and then stand alone. Raw, sampled gospel sections are added to the mix from off-stage towards the end of the track. This oscillation between the indecisive and the decisive is less radical and delicate than, say, The Bugs & Dis Figs’ »In Blue« from 2020, and the »Violently Rooted Reprise«, on which Niecy Blues’ monophony gently becomes polyphony, does nothing to change that. The vocal concept on the whole album is reminiscent of the autumnal fragility of Grouper, except that one moment Niecy Blues is purring in the next room and the next she is right next to your ear. But that is not the only reason why »Exit Stimulation« is a multi-faceted album, full of well-thought-out ideas, drawing on genres ranging from bedroom pop to avant-garde cut-up art.