BASED in Oakland, California, composer Sally Decker, who’s previously recorded as Multa Nox, is stepping out under her own name with her first solo album for NNA Tapes due later in the summer; and in the moving towards which she has been learning to let go.
One of the main sonic strands of her new album is feedback, that glorious, unpredictable, happy accident of sound detecting itself, so difficult to wield and hammer into shape; but as she began to work with the fluid sound, never quite under her control, she came to an accommodation with its drones and squall; came to see a lesson for life itself; how to accept change, incomplete control, find oases of stability in turbulence.
“Being in that space of the unknown was terrifying in a lot of ways,” she explains. “But it felt important. I felt drawn to it.”
The ideas she brings forth on that new album, In The Tender Dream, first took shape when Sally moved to Oakland to attend Mills College. Challenged by mentors to experiment and delve deep, she found her way to feedback systems and new ways of making art. Exploring the ache of codependency, straining deeply for self-worth on her own terms, she crafted pieces that helped her process her most intimate feelings.
She’s dropped a video for the deep, sombre thrum of “The Loss” – steel greys of feedback swooped over by more flighty, sudden, arcs of sound, over which she incants a charm of letting go.
The accompanying video was made by Emily Chao. The two say that in the short film, “Rephotographed landscapes emerge from the shadows in a confrontation of self.”
Speaking further of “The Loss”, she says: “This song came at the brink of a new understanding around acceptance. Understanding that doesn’t necessarily take place in felt experience, but at least in the glimmers of seeing an alternate reality you want to move toward.
“The first impulse that brought this track out of me was wanting to express the visceral pain of longing, the wound of self-abandonment, feeling the core of yourself just totally not there.
“The power the voice finds is through honest confrontation with the reality of what has been neglected in the shadow, what has not been fully grieved. Wishing for change, hoping for another reality (past or present) that isn’t aligned with the reality that occurred or is occurring, is a sure way to be stuck in that place of longing and helplessness.
“Acceptance will ultimately set you free. The voice in the song starts to understand this, and accumulates power through orienting toward this possibility.”
Elsewhere on In The Tender Dream we’re promised drone distention, poetry, but also gentler ambience; from the restful to the stormy.
“I used to try to track the narrative of an emotion in a piece,” she explains. “Now it’s like, how can I work out this emotional thing in the process of sculpting the sound itself?”
Sally Decker’s In The Tender Dream will be released by NNA Tapes digitally, on CD and cassette on August 13th and can be pre-ordered here.
Connect with Sally at her official website and on Instagram, Bandcamp and at NNA Tapes.