Rachika Nayar turns ambient on its head with “The Trembling of Glass”

“The Trembling of Glass” is taken from Rachika Nayar’s upcoming album Our Hands Against The Dusk, due March 5 via NNA Tapes.

Rachika Nayar is the next big thing in ambient music. Though her output is scarce so far (she released some music as Rachika S before), her inventive modus operandi has attracted enough attention to merit a close following. Nayar’s first step when making songs is a familiar one: she picks up her guitar. It barely sounds like it – Steve Reich and his electronic counterpoint this is not. Instead, the Brooklyn-based trans artist digitally processes these loops until they barely sound as a guitar, and she mixes them up with more conventional playing to grant the tracks a melodic backbone. It is simply fascinating. Nayar is soon releasing her debut album Our Hands Against The Dusk on NNA Tapes, and she has shared the first song off it, “The Trembling of Glass”.

There is something both hypnotic and disconcerting about “The Trembling of Glass”. Loop-based as it is, the song keeps throwing you off with off-kilter changes; during some parts, you don’t even know what the next second is going to be like, as in that moment in a horror film where you’re expecting a jumpscare. Nayar mentions having grown up on more popular kinds of music, which checks out by the song’s last minutes, where it becomes more a blend of post-rock and midwestern emo than ambient. It’s not only that there are several songs hidden in one. Not content with hiding, they come up to the surface and take over – and then, of course, are eventually taken over. “The Trembling of Glass” is as exciting as ambient has got in a while.