Oliver Chapoy's Certain Creatures project marks the launch of New York's Mysteries of the Deep label. His six-track Nasadiya Sukta album is a good fit for the new imprint, which started as an ambient music podcast in 2011.
This debut is of the dark ambient variety. While it doesn't break any new ground, it is a solid, richly produced disc. Older listeners will be reminded of artists like Muslimgauze (the late Bryn Jones) and Nocturnal Emissions. Younger fans of the genre will eat up its heavy bass lines and resonant percussion.
Nasadiya Sukta opens with a heavily treated vocal sample that's featured just a bit too repetitively throughout "Cross Star Woman." Otherwise, the track is beautifully paced and, for many of us, an impressive introduction to Chapoy's compositional talent.
That's followed by "Nyau Dust," one of the album's high points. When done right, ambient music can be surprisingly uplifting. Despite the darkness that pervades this album, this piece builds to a kind of low-key euphoria that's entirely infectious.
The album's title track layers electronic percussion over otherworldly synth drones. Again, not groundbreaking, but executed well. Chapoy is also honest about his reference points; his promo sheet describes the album as "harking back to ambient classics from the '90s."
It would be an overstatement to say the Brooklyn-based artist has produced an homage to that important period in electronic music. There's more here than a simple hat-tip; Chapoy has produced a uniformly strong first album for Mysteries of the Deep. Both the label and the artist are worth watching in 2018. (Mysteries of the Deep)