Nora Lilith - Daysof8
Released - October 2021
Label - Majestic Casual Records
Nora Lilith's debut EP 'Daysof8' aligns alternative R&B and electronic frameworks. Whilst it is one of the quieter records of the year, the statement it makes for Lilith's potential career is cosmic and exciting.
Nora Lilith's music reads as a mercurial liquidation of the past decade’s warmest sounds. Oil-slick funk basslines intertwine with iridescent jazzy chord progressions inspired by contemporary R&B, whilst her unique vocal lilt and penchant for digital manipulation harks back to the avant-garde madness of 2010's alternative. This six-track combination of all these ideas perfectly explores the seemingly boundless limits of her experimentation. From start to finish, ‘Daysof8’ is tactile, immersive, and frankly a stunning debut.
The project is completely self-produced and omnivorous in nature, a perfect fit for her voice. Stand out track ‘Misfed’ is a mastery of hypnotic ambience with a honey dripped vocal which pleads with a tender refraction of insecurities and desires that could almost be eerie if Lilith wasn't such a welcoming performer. Single release ‘Button’ weaves in and out of rhythmically focused danceable choruses with skittish aquatic verses. It is one of the best examples of her composition skills as well as one of her most touching offerings.
Despite the flushed-cheek nature of the production, there is a knee-deep emotional turmoil that Lilith reckons with throughout 'Daysof8'. On the title track her electronically-pitched vocals and the pulsing rhythm section address her emotional balance, personal needs and the resulting tension of those needs becoming the duties of another. It's a heartbreaking core theme but the extensive cushioning of the production prevents her entire being from spilling out onto the table.
The influences for 'Daysof8' are less than subtle, but that's what makes listening to it so enjoyable. Nora Lilith understands how to progress ideas that her inspirations roughly chiseled out before and create something doubly as thrilling. James Blake immediately comes to mind on bouncier tunes like the house-adjacent ‘Yolk’ that pays dues to Blake's early post-dubstep work. However, Lilith doesn't seek to explore the same impasse of soul and electronica that he does. Instead, she revels in the sounds of dance and funk, more willing to be the life of the party than Blake's more cocooned persona. On the arresting finale ‘My Only’ some foley recordings and Devon Grace's earthly saxophone work hint at the brand of orchestral R&B that other musicians like Sevdaliza and Sampha have put their own spin on in the past.
While 'Daysof8''s short length prevents it from revealing any potential roadblocks Nora Lilith might have as an artist, it's a perfect first showing of everything that makes her worthwhile. She's confident and open to letting her sense of whimsy guide her work every so often. It's this freedom that many other musicians seem terrified of whilst Lilith saunters through everything she does with an infectious positivity that spreads to anyone granted the pleasure to hear what she's doing. As her artistic identity evolves further she will surely be a force to reckon with in the alternative R&B arena with 'Daysof8' being such a strong debut that her peers may soon be scrambling to get on her level before she outshines them.