Nuha Ruby Ra is an artist who, in her new EP “How to Move”, proves herself able to combine the cinematic with the personal without losing any of the intensity of her vision. This is to say the EP has the sonic components of a late-70s horror movie, meshed with a narrative that is somewhat more realistic in it’s themes.
You get a sense of this almost immediately, with the stark and crashing drums of the EP’s intro doing exactly what it is supposed to: establishing the mood that Nuha Ruby Ra finds it best to express herself. To call this sound experimental wouldn’t give her enough credit, since she isn’t experimenting with these elements. She’s showing us how she uses them.
The mood lingers on as “cruel” begins, with rattling drums and echoing textures undercutting the artist’s almost childlike singsong vocals. It is a chilling experience, with only the bassline to lead you through the dark. That same childlike voice fades, building to a shriek that repeats a sort of corrupt nursery rhyme, lamenting us to try walking in the artist’s shoes.
The track “Sparky” then picks up a different set of dynamics, offering a tone that is comparatively upbeat. I interpreted this to be a more mature voice, taking command of the song’s narrative, and condemning an abusive lover. It’s got some great lines that paint an image of this reprehensible character, while musically offering some clear influence from previous collaborator Warmdusher.
After a short respite with a foreboding drum-heavy interlude, the fragile voice of the artist returns for “Erase Me”. Here the instrumental takes on some janky, tactile elements, sounding like a gramophone stuck on the groove of some lost country and western song. The vocal delivery floats above this chugging rhythm, again bringing back that distressing quality that makes this EP work.
As this track disintegrates into more echoing textures, we move abruptly onto the EP’s longest and loudest track “run run”. Which begins with such ferocity that there’s no way the artist wasn’t trying to shock the listener. The motifs of listlessness repeat in the lyrics, with the song building to a point of ear-piercing crescendo. Truly a high point of the record for me.
The EP then regroups and meditates on itself, with the gothic finale “cruel ending”. The sound is sparse, just an organ and bass, but as with everything else we’ve heard so far it has a density that seems to rise up as the song progresses. This creates a feeling of numbness, like you really have come to know the desperation Nuha Ruby Ra has been trying to drill into you all EP.
It’s a record that has a cohesive atmosphere, which is only supplemented by the artist’s investment in both vocal delivery and willingness to reveal her anguish openly. I’d say the best parts of the EP are the industrial elements that echo and clang behind these vocals. On this level I’d consider “sparky” as a rather unfocused sonic detour with exception of the lyrics. This isn’t to say that this song lacks anything the other tracks have, it just feels like an odd one out from a very solid line up of tracks.
Overall I would especially recommend this for fans of industrial and noise who are looking for something very mood-heavy, mysterious and unique.
Nuha Ruby Ra‘s debut EP “How to Move” is out now on Brace Yourself Records, find her on bandcamp to preorder a limited edition red transparent 12” vinyl.