Wave and phonk (no, not the TikTok version) have always been fertile ground for the mixes and mixtape culture. skeler’s Night Drive series will probably be the first example that comes to mind as it has arisen as the most popular example, but this is a practice that has been present since way before and it is still being maintained. It’s not uncommon to see artists celebrating and promoting a new release with a series of mixes, creating music-video journeys around specific themes, or, indeed, showcasing their new creations with ID-filled projects.
NOCTURNE, arael’s new gargantuan project, fully falls into the latter category and gives us a journey through no less than 18 unreleased songs by the Canadian producer, with guest appearances by Sage, Djedi, Theos, and Helix. “I had the idea [for NOCTURNE] shortly after a previous mix I made last year called UMBRA. I wanted this release to be a step up from its predecessor, with a more cohesive sound and flow” arael tells us, adding that “in a music market that prioritizes singles and virality over longer-form projects, it was a nice change of pace to work on something more cohesive”.
Actually, NOCTURNE’s greatest asset is probably not the amount of single IDs, but the evocative and immersive power the full project has. Across the forty-six-minute runtime, albeit switching between epic moments, introspective sections, and even gritty bangers, the tracks roll on fluently and, even when the mixes are not technically brilliant, the atmosphere in which we’re immersed does not crack.
It’s an experience worth listening (and watching) from top to bottom to experience its purest essence. “The sounds found on NOCTURNE were inspired and written as a love letter to the early wave of SoundCloud phonk artists such as DJ smokey, Mythic, Soudiere & Myrror while pulling inspiration from wave/witch house.” Going into more detail, arael continues, “the tracks themselves have been in the works for over a year now, and were inspired by late-night drives, 90s IDM culture & the moodiness of cold weather.” The moody nature of NOCTURNE shouldn’t be a surprise if you’re even slightly familiar with the phonk and wave scene. It’s clearly not a soundtrack that can flavour every moment of our days, but when the perfect moment comes along, NOCTURNE should be one of your first choices.
Listen and watch NOCTURNE below.