March 9 marks the release of Nokay’s four-track EP, called The One I Feed. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, Nokay learned piano, drums, and marimba as a child. When he was 19, he purchased a MIDI keyboard and DAW. Soon after, he added poetry and songwriting to his repertoire, immersing himself in composition and production.
According to the press release, Nokay says: “I wanted to make an EP that was a combination of things people hadn’t heard before, one where you could uncover something new every time you listened to the songs. I was fortunate enough to be able to write, sing and produce the whole EP, so I had exclusive creative control over the whole project. I tried to present each song with a level of ambiguity and depth; that way the listener could find their own appreciation for the content. The One I Feed is all about the density in decisions, and after two years of work I’m excited to share it with everyone.”
Nokay’s music doesn’t fit neatly into a single genre. He merges dark pop, alternative, R&B, and electro-pop into a distinctive sound both natural and synthetic.
“Passenger” opens with Nokay’s singular voice and a light guitar riding an alt-pop tune. His voice is reminiscent of Tracy Chapman because of his inflection and phrasing. When the music ascends on the chorus, a wall of bright harmonic hues emanates forth like an engulfing rainbow. “Mercury” offers an emerging electro-pop essence glowing with developing tones and energy. Shifting, sifting echoes add resonant accents, giving the tune a scintillating radiance, while stuttering, filtered stops enhance the music’s intense, passionate sensibility.
“Antares” begins with a delicately elegant piano supporting Nokay’s caressing voice. Whooshing synths infuse the song with propelling flavors that tumble into shimmering harmonic layers. Nokay’s voice progresses from caressing to a buff storm of vehement tones. “Fear” features Nokay’s urgent voice attended by vocal accents ranging from deep and dark to suffused luminosity. The staggered rhythmic pulse of the percussion injects declarative sensuous vibrations.
Nokay’s exceptionally evocative voice provides the songs with a curious field of suppressed energy, reflective and simultaneously proximate, like the stillness of an implacable force hovering over a hidden inner emotion, an emotion that surfaces despite constraints. There’s an exotic trancelike modulation to his voice that’s entrancing.
The One I Feed presents the sonic reverence usually associated with Gregorian chants. Its harmonic attributes are relevant and emotionally inspiring. If you’re into resplendent electro-pop full of glistening colors and great clouds of zealous ardor, then Nokay’s The One I Feed is what you seek. It’s powerful music.