- An album about mourning through techno.
- Can techno be a tool for mourning? With its speedy BPMs, wordless euphoria, and all night dancing, techno is more often associated with energy and celebration. Nene H, a rising star of the genre, turns this idea on its head for her debut album, Ali, a techno album about mourning. It might be risky to try and get such deep, personal feelings across in an abstract form like techno, but Ali focuses more on the feelings that accompany the mourning process, and less on the specifics. It's a somber and impressionistic journey, telling its story through murky melodies and fitful beats.
Nene H has built a career on thrashing DJ sets and blistering EPs, and while Ali is less outgoing and aggressive, it's still techno—thumping, foggy, enveloping. Tracks like "Lament" offer a funereal take on the Nene H we already know, awash in ambient dissonance, sturdy synth plods and the bright warbles of a wind instrument.
Though dotted with moments of calm, like the eerie and luminescent "Reue," Ali holds nothing back in its portrayal of a grieving psyche. A chanting vocal slithers its way through “Rau,” a foreboding track that would fit well in neon-streaked thriller (think Enter The Void). Ascending and plunging synths glide above the singing, as quivering beats flap in the background like a tarp in a thunderstorm. The intensity comes flooding back on "Gebet," whose quiet ambience is broken by throbbing beats and ghostly vocal chants. It's purposefully destabilizing, like a memory of comfort distorted by grief.
Ali speaks in broad moods and implied feelings, unbound to traditional narratives about loss. The album also rejects conclusive or easy platitudes about mourning. On closing track "How We Say Goodbye," an elegiac voice croons over spacey ambience and sampled background conversation. There's an obvious lack of closure for the artist while the rest of the world goes on with its routines, oblivious to her pain. This a difficult but honest message: even if we've withstood its brunt, grief can stick to our bones for far longer than we expect, lingering in the background like vapor trails of reverb haunting a techno track.
01. Letztes Pech
03. We Wait
07. The Hustle
08. How We Say Goodbye