Deep house darling Nina Kraviz’s star has steadily been on the rise since her debut EP on Underground Quality, with the ever-astute label boss and house connoisseur Jus-Ed recognizing her enigmatic charm and virtuosity early on. Subsequent releases on naif, bPitch Control and Rekids have seen her dip into a wide range of styles, from avant-garde minimalism to more upfront club tracks, and this has culminated in her much-anticipated debut album for Radio Slaves London-based label.
Sultry and seductive are fairly obvious adjectives one could use to describe Kraviz. Her vocal stylings give an undeniably sensual, intoxicating air to her music. To her credit however, she does not lean too heavily on these attributes, instead delivering a profoundly deep and esoteric collection of songs that balances her ability to create a heady atmosphere using a veritable bare-bones approach, while also reflecting on love, lust, loss and everything in between. These philosophies permeate the various facets of the album, be it the booming 808-hustle of Ghetto Kraviz, the sweeping, emotive ambience of 4 Ben or the loungey groove of Choices, which conjures images of a lazy afternoon in a smoky Moscow cafe, at the crossroads of a torrid love affair. It should come as no surprise that Nina’s love for all things vintage and analogue runs deep, yet she manages to inject a freshness into the sound pallette that never sounds contrived or “old-school”, but rather refreshed by her own charm and expression. Even the opening strains of Turn on The Radio contain all the ingredients of yet another slo-mo re-edit style workout, replete with lethargic drums and chopped up vocal snippets. Yet the unsettling time signature and off-kilter vocals elevate it from nothing more than a languid loop to the type of cut that garners repeat listening, if only to be seduced by it all over again.
Current fads in dance music have been discussed ad nauseum, and threaten to trivialise the hard work and effort that artists put into staking their claim in an increasingly competitive and saturated dance music world. What Kraviz has succeeded in here is creating a body of work that entices the casual listener with its beguiling grace and beauty while still providing chin-strokers and music nerds with something to sink their teeth into. With an album as rich, charismatic and lovingly crafted as this, Nina Kraviz stands head and shoulders above the competition and remains resolutely at the cutting edge.
Words by Robin Would