Naemi (w/Ulla, Huerco S, Erika de Casier++) - Dust Devil


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Release Date
May 17, 2024
Electronic Pop
Dream Pop
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Years in the making, naemi’s ambitious, sprawling debut album for 3XL features contributions from Erika de Casier, Ulla, Huerco S, Ben Bondy, Florian TM Zeisig, NAP and label boss Shy, plus many others, on a gorgeously brooding double album braiding heart-liquifying dreampop guitars with weightless clouds of sublime ambience. A pensive and poetic celebration of love and friendship, it’s the most beautiful, vital music released by 3XL to date. Formerly known as exael, naemi channels a broad spectrum of influences on ‘Dust Devil’. Billed as a "whirlwind road movie", it sums up naemi's last few years as a central node in Berlin's amorphous network of fringe producers, poets and artists. While the city might still be best known for its litany of cavernous, greyscale tourist dungeons, in the back rooms and all-night cafes there's been a perceptible counter; a loose faction of like-minded outsiders who have furrowed out a space where hypnagogic sounds, muzzy '90s pop, trip-hop, bass music and analgesic rap have slowly morphed into something new. Sounds that felt previously anathema to the Berlin experience have coalesced into a warm wave of psychedelic, healing romance, a phenomenon that anchors 'Dust Devil'. The album opens with an untitled cut featuring none other than 4AD superstar Erika de Casier, who delivers a lovestruck vocal that smears into naemi's humid ambience. The mood is distinctive, somewhere between Cocteau Twins and Harold Budd's timeless 'The Moon and the Melodies' and the kind of vulnerable early '00s R&B that de Casier has made her own. naemi continues the thought on 'CO (Sugar Hiccup)', referencing the Cocteaus' 1983 classic and granulating soft-hearted, shimmering guitars that rumble beneath a stark poem from artist, writer and DJ Yves B. Golden. The expansive vista fully manifests on 'Day Drifter’, layering sparse guitar riffs below Perila's mercurial vocals - the most direct and powerful thing we’ve heard from her yet - in a sort of classic DIY pop mode that appears like a mirage wrung with almost-familiar earworms and esoteric turns. Pontiac Streator joins hands with naemi on 'Thinking of Incky', a delirious shimmer of 'Head Over Heels' guitars and itchy, dissociated rhythmic flutters, while Huerco S. and Arad Acid help aerate 'Couch Angel' into effervescent shoegaze/trip-hop floss, curving MBV-strength judders and gravelly breaks around hallucinatory, choral vocals. naemi leans further into the jazzy, downtempo mood on 'Ambrosia', connecting with NAP (aka Daniel Rincon) who mouths gentle words over naemi's slow-mo drums and foggy electric piano. Then, on the title track, 3XL boss Shy (aka Special Guest DJ) supports naemi with a précis of everything we've heard, mangling eerie atmospherics with glistening, crepuscular guitars. Yearning and painstakingly deliberate, 'Dust Devil' is a softly whispered rumination that freezes a moment in time and traps its knotted emotions in the aether. It's an album that acknowledges its influences, but uses them to tarmac a fresh narrative, one that hasn't been concluded quite yet, stretching endlessly into the open skyline.