While Susurrus is Niomí’s debut EP, her musical accolades stretch further back: she’s not only an accomplished pianist, but also was previously part of experimental RnB duo Tidelines. After learning how to produce music, Niomí branched out into her own realm. It is perhaps this wealth of experience that allows Niomí to confidently carve out her own path within her music.
In a world where bigger and louder can be mistaken for better, Niomí acknowledges the power and beauty of small and quiet things. What makes Susurrus such a gorgeous record is this attention to the minutiae – even the title, referring to the sound of the wind moving through the trees, is wonderfully serene. Speaking on the title of the record, Niomí said “I thought it was so beautiful to have a word for such a subtle and tiny thing and I related to that concept”.
Niomí’s prior musical experience filters through as influences throughout Susurrus, from the blending of organic and synthesised sounds to the combination of classical and experimental musicality. The three track EP explores themes of heartbreak, loss and making your way out onto the other side.
The first song on the EP, ‘Movement,’ opens the record with a stunning swelling of strings which immediately fade to allow Niomí’s velvety vocals to fully ensnare her audience’s attention. While Niomí explores a change of state and loss within the lyrics, a stripped back drum beat slowly echoes, like water dripping off of leaves after a downpour. Niomí’s singing mirrors this sensation, offering a sense of calm and acceptance as she reminisces “there was movement once / hands on my heart can you feel it.”
Lead single ‘Snow’ delves into healing after a relationship ends, and opens with the self-assured line “I think I’m getting over you” before the swaying upbeat instrumental swoops in. Niomí creates a celebratory and hopeful atmosphere in her twinkling musicality, mirroring the feeling of waking up after a break up and finally feeling okay again. Using the imagery of a fresh blanket of snow to represent a fresh start, Niomí’s raspy tones become ever more impactful and poignant.
Susurrus rounds off with the melancholic ‘Advantage’. Featuring layers of Niomí’s vocals to create an eerie harmony, the vocals are almost distorted but don’t veer into being jarring. These added coatings of vocals suddenly fall away, as if the listener has come to a clearing in the dense forest of Niomí’s singing. All of the audience’s attention is honed on the heartbreaking line “when you take advantage / whenever you like.” As the song fades to silence, the listeners are left feeling contemplative and composed, perhaps reflecting on experiences and memories that Niomí’s siren-like singing has brought to the surface.
Despite the wealth of emotion present through the EP, Niomí keeps Susurrus understated and simplistic, demonstrating there is power in the small and quiet.
Words by Ella McLaren
Photo by Laura Aguilera
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