- Through releases on Rekids, Underground Quality and Naif, Moscow's Nina Kraviz has forged a reputation for sensual and intricately constructed deep house. For her generous use of space and the roominess of her lithe, almost sinewy productions, Kraviz specializes both in her own often off-kilt way with vocal hooks, the sly emergence of faint melodic patterns and her deft sound design. Now for her self-titled debut album for Rekids, it's interesting to hear Kraviz trace that same fixation for micro-nuance within such lush and steamy creations for an entire full-length.
Preceded by lead single "Ghetto Kraviz," with its twitchy vocal samples slowly leading into Kraviz's hip-hop sing song and long-night pads, Nina Kraviz arrives sounding pretty much precisely like one might have hoped; Kraviz's blend of ghostly chords, disembodied whispers, and her own diva struttings are layered within a slyly physical take on house and ambient sidetracks. At times, she sounds sleep-blurred and drowsy; at others, lovesick, half-starved. Across these fourteen unreleased tracks, there's an immense presence—a sense of sounds and timbres made for and from the body. And always, despite that desire to hear these tracks in a big room with other people around, there's still enough precision in the way she moves through her own tracks (check the gorgeous choral outro to "Working" for example) that you want to retreat to a candle-dotted room with headphones.
With its cozy pads and pattering drum machine, for example, "False Attraction" begins in cautious remove before Kraviz finally steps front and center in a quiet voice that gains strength as the track winds on. "Love Or Go" is slightly more muscular, a classical deep house strain from a pedestal, both untouchable and insistently, movingly close. "Turn On the Radio," meanwhile, rides the album's most alluring beat into an elegant bit of disco-house sprawl, and the beautiful closer "Fire" mines warm, languorous synth-pop in a way that funhouse mirrors the frigid goth-pop of a figure like Kate Wax.
Elsewhere, Kraviz swaps lustrous deep house tracks ("Aus," "Taxi Talk," "Choices") with more refined ambient interludes ("Walking in the Night," "4 Ben," "The Needle"). But, consistently, there are moments here that draw the ear away from where it first settled. Nina Kraviz is a cross between the romanticized retroisms of Prosumer & Murat Tepeli's Serenity and the attention to detail of an Efdemin, Roman Flugel or Isolee album. Simply put, if Nina Kraviz was one of the year's most hotly anticipated debuts, let's just say she lived up to that small furor.
01. Walking In The Night feat. Hard Ton
02. Aus feat. King Aus
03. Ghetto Kraviz
04. Taxi Talk
05. False Attraction
08. Love Or Go
09. Best Friend
10. 4 Ben
11. Turn On The Radio
13. The Needle