Mixtape Review: Second Nature – Ninajirachi

Second Nature, Ninajirachi’s debut full-length project, is a remarkably fully-realised sonic ode to the digital age. Splayed out across a rapturous 40 minutes, the Australian auteur pulls the listener into her most distilled artistic vision yet.

And it is certainly her artistic vision. Nina Wilson is the self-described “chief architect” of everything she does. To grasp this vision all you have to do is understand her thought process, that her laptop is simply an extension of her own will and that her brain is simply an advanced supercomputer in itself.

If the music is anything to go by, then that computer must be running some advanced software. The opening couple of tracks are a perfect indication of the modus operandi of the album, charming the listener with bright, glitchy keys before dragging you along in the strong current of the thumping bass.

“Things I Never Nu” is a bright and airy love song amongst the best Nina’s ever written. The lyrics manage to be sufficiently sweet to match the instrumental, without ever becoming cloying. The track lingers on the mind well beyond its end, a testament to the songwriting behind it.

As promised though, the mixtape doesn’t ever stay on the same wave for too long. The next track “One Long Firework in the Sky” (with Montaigne) captures the essence of a classic hyperpop chorus, with electric vocals underscored by exquisite polyphonic production. She doesn’t however, rely on vocals to carry a track. Instrumental cuts “Soma”, “X33 (with Kenta204)” and “Tiankeng” make up the stellar middle run of an mixtape that showcases not only her fluid sonic shapeshifting but also her dextrous hand for crafting stellar instrumentals, each with their own unique flavour. Be it a swirling show of sonic tension or a complete cathartic release, Ninajirachi pulls it off with virtuosity.

It’s, in total, a mixtape wholly indicative of the spirit of the Internet age. Bounding unpredictably from one sound to the next, with each one as compelling as the last, Second Nature can’t sit still, and thrives in that fact. The frantic closer “Icebody”, with its DnB edge is an emblematic end to a mixtape that threatens to pull the listener in every direction and is comfortable in all of them. It’s as if they are, indeed, Second Nature, to her. Never for a moment do you consider that this is only a debut, telling of the complexity and polish of the project.  It’s a testament to what someone can achieve with little but a laptop and the power of the Internet.

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