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Disaster Pop Georgie Brooke , December 2nd, 2021 08:33

London experimental hip hop crew Nukuluk have carved a special place in the heart of Georgie Brooke

I am always reaching for ways to hear things like Nukuluk’s Disaster Pop in my ears. Yesterday I made myself late to work because for some reason I had to panic-buy earphones from Spar to listen to it on the way. It’s addictive to me, chaotic. A series of peeling layers of sound, stripping down to wisps then bursting out with boisterous hip-hop energy. It is mixed well enough to feel unpredictable, stitched with neuralgia glitches, beats that vibrate chaotically with their power then buckle under the pressure of Monika’s bars. As Syd’s voice creeps in towards the end of ‘Ooh Ah’ it floats around Monika’s like an exchange of whispers until Monika’s voice slows and deepens too. Like it’s sinking with the weight of having to project it’s vulnerability before it breaks into something delicate.

Whilst ‘Ooh Ah’ emulates chaos, ‘Feel So’ and ‘Nu Year’ both create melancholic scenes, grounded by Syd’s voice, fixing on what has been taken; the hurt, bleak and beautiful. ‘Feel So’ is instinctual, vulturous, as between high pitched vibrating noises, birds pick at remains and Monika repeats “See the bodies, on which he dine” like reflections in an echo chamber of the small worlds they are creating.

But we never get to hear what Syd feels, just that he “feels so…”. We know that there is something to be expressed, but his voice disperses into the music, soundscapes become emotions, emotions disperse into sonic melancholia. The interplay between Syd’s monotone whisps and Monika’s elegiac monologue leaves me grasping for what they keep from us, and maybe they don’t want us to know, maybe they want us to feel it for ourselves, to turn it over in our guts.

To see the ways in which they are turning the pain into something beautiful – just like in ‘Disaster Pop Song’, which begins with a mechanical purr alongside sugary, playful vocals that flow like a childhood rhyme; sweet and addictive, even as the song falls apart. This sentiment is repeated in the final song, how the electronic noises patter against the sound of the rain. The song is dripping with sentiment for a specific memory stapled into the timeline of the song, of laughter that is evaporating. The EP disperses into the air right in front of us. But it is still with me. I still think about listening to the EP. It has crossed over to reside in the most vulnerable parts of me.