BAND OF THE WEEK: NYMPH

23 Jun

Maybe it’s because we’re so square – or maybe it’s because we never heard the debut album from Nymph – but when we listen to their highly transformative, extraordinary second album, “New Millennium Prayer,” we don’t think of dancing, frolicking nymphs.

Well, maybe dancing – but not frolicking.

OK, maybe a little bit of frolicking.

Rather, when we listen to “New Millennium Prayer,” we naturally think of prayer, beginning with the incredible, hypnotic, and incredibly hypnotic twelve-and-a-half minute sonic supplication that opens the album, called “Beyond.”

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And when we listen to Nymph, when we listen to “New Millennium Prayer,” when we listen to “Beyond” – as we have down now, repeatedly, for the past several weeks – our mind’s destination certainly seems to be beyond. We listen to Nymph, we listen to “New Millennium Prayer,” and we think of “Our Prayer” – appropriate given the addition of alternately shrieking and soothing horns to Nymph’s effortlessly kosmische cellular infrastructure of sound. And when we think of the kosmische when thinking of Albert Ayler, we tend to think of the even more cosmically concerned Sun-Ra, who of course told us in no uncertain terms that space is the place – words and a worldview, a weltanschauung, that Nymph seem to have digested fully, suffering little to no spiritual indigestion in the process.

And when we think of Sun-Ra, we think of the sun. And when we think of the sun, we think of Icarus – appropriate given that the song-prayers of Nymph seem designed specifically for liftoff, to soar high above the earth, into the heavens and – yes – crash back down with a great noise, wings afire, having given flight to their fight – “Battle Funk,” without question.

Icarus is said to have crashed along the shores of the Greek isle of Icaria – the very same island that was once home to Psalacantha. Who? A nymph! A nymph that (we’ll assume) both danced and frolicked, but ultimately pissed off Dionysus, enough so that Dionysus turned Psalacantha into a plant.

They say that Dionysus had regret over turning this nymph into a plant. As penance, Dionysus wove the plant into the wreath of his wife, Ariadne – the “Mistress of the Labyrinth.” That wreath was given a permanent home in the heavens, known to our human eyes as the Corona Borealis constellation.

Why? Because space is the place. The gods told us so, while listening to our prayer, the “New Millennium Prayer.”

New Millennium Prayer” by Nymph is out June 25 on Northern Spy Records.

Nymph plays an early show at Strange Matter this Wednesday, June 26, along with Snack Truck and Dumbwaiter. 

“No act of mine is done without prayer. Man is a fallible being. He can never be sure of his steps. What he may regard as answer to prayer may be an echo of his pride. For infallible guidance man has to have a perfectly innocent heart incapable of evil. I can lay no such claim. Mine is a struggling, striving, erring, imperfect soul.”

– Mahatma Gandhi, “Young India

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