This past Thursday, Norwegian duo Lemâitre released Nishio 2, a collaboration with Bay Area producer Giraffage, as the first single off their upcoming EP 1749, set to be released this Friday. The upbeat track incorporates elements of glitch, a more niche genre of electronic music popularized by recent producers including Porter Robinson.
When Porter Robinson first released Worlds in August 2014, the electronic music world turned on its head. The album brought to the mainstream elements of more experimental electronic music, notably glitch pop. Glitch is a genre that arose in the 90’s, centering hiccups, skips, and mistakes in electronic music. This was historically more of a niche genre, mainly used in noise or experimental music. Given that Robinson’s Worlds was more experimental than the work of many of his genre contemporaries, critics were unsure of what the reception would be. The response to the album however was overwhelmingly positive; it peaked at #1 on the US Dance/ Electronic Albums chart.
In August of 2014, Pitchfork wrote that “if Porter Robinson didn’t make an album like Worlds in 2014, someone else would have.” While this claim may be hard to substantiate, we’ve certainly seen other artists follow suit. Lemâitre and Giraffage, who both had a hand in Robinson’s Worlds universe (Lemâitre were featured Polygon Dust, and Giraffage produced a popular, though independent, remix of Lionhearted) teamed up to release Nishio 2, a genre-bending track that draws clear inspiration from Robinson’s work.
Thus far, Nishio 2 has been described by critics and fans on Twitter as “magical,” “glitchy,” “ethereal,” and “euphoric.” The introduction starts out with electronic scales that mirror the sound of bells and chimes, similar to the sounds used in Robinson’s Lionhearted. Around 45 seconds in we first hear percussion, and a young woman’s voice chirps, “I’m so happy!” She continues, “I’m so happy I never met you. Our time together would be too short and sad.” Lemâitre and Giraffage first introduce glitch midway through the song, and the riff takes a darker note. The woman’s voice becomes distorted, and we hear the refrain “our time together would be too short and sad” repeated in a variety of electronic voices.
The glitch in the music before “our time together would be too short and sad” emphasizes the multiplicity of emotions inherent in the short, two-line lyric. Lemâitre and Giraffage use the style to draw a contrast between the happy and sad emotions apparent in the bittersweet statement, “I’m so happy I never met you.” Before the glitch sneaks its way into the track, the music is upbeat and sing-song, but afterwards the lyrics become more perverse and distorted. It’s pretty ironic, actually, that Lemâitre and Giraffage are substantiating the most emotionally resonant moment of the whole track with a technique that, until very recently, would have been considered too experimental for the casual listener. But instead of turning audiences away, glitch makes the track all the more compelling, lending the track the very depth that makes it so strong. Perhaps that’s why I’ve had it on loop as I’ve worked on my psets this weekend.
If this track is any indication, Lemâitre’s EP 1749 should be a highly anticipated album. On the title of the EP, Lemâitre commented, “1749 is our home address and the title of our EP, but it’s more than that. 1749 represents the journey we’ve made and the process of creating music in our home away from home.” Fans can expect 1749 to be an album that’s built on the success of their genre’s greatest, but is still entirely their own.
Listen here. Image from here.