Into the Abyss With Nasstasia Yard

22 01 2012

It comes as a mixed blessing that Nasstasia Yard’s debut EP “For Someone Else” occupies a mere centimeter or so of spooled analogue tape. While the beatific beauty manifest in each of these four songs leaves us craving more, the most casual listen also confronts us with a distilled, monstrous form of melancholy that few dare to observe, much less confront. But with “For Someone Else” Yard stares at her monster’s bared, bloody teeth and proceeds to embrace him with broken arms; lucky listeners are the beneficiaries of her enormous bravery.

The darkness Yard confronts on “For Someone Else” is mirrored by its cover. A child’s face is shrouded by darkness; a silent scream bursts from open lips. The look in the child’s eyes, a disturbing alloy of terror and rage, does not extend a glimmer of comfort or hope. We don’t simply observe her pain; we are responsible for it. These songs were composed for someone else, after-all.

Yard channels the child’s silent cry with “Generate”, the album’s tiny first track, which recalls Elliot Smith’s earliest lo-fi recordings. While completely devoid of hope, Yard’s voice is strikingly beautiful in its vulnerability. Yard promises that if she “could keep generating more to give” she’d keep going; just as the song comes to premature halt. We are forced to follow Yard into the abyss.

For the rest of the album, Yard’s weary voice somehow summons the necessary strength to plod through a haunting territory of textures which include dropped pennies, shattered wine glasses and wire brushes. When the play button pops up at the end of side two, we are relieved though undoubtedly our instinct is to turn the tape over for another go.

A musical equivalent to a Lars von Trier film, Yard tastefully conveys a darkness that is tragically ignored in our cheap and shallow North American culture. The album is not intended to the weak of heart. But I urge you to summon the necessary courage, listen, and listen often. You will be rewarded.

To read more of Nick Lyons’ writing, check out his blog here.


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