Thailand Week, Day 5: Noksidam – Abask EP

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Artist: Nokisidam

Album: Abask E.P.

Release date: 16 April 2023

Link: Bandcamp

Location: Thailand

In the land of gold where Buddhists went to proselytize the way of dharma, there is another message being sent out into the world; the message of electro. Noksidam is an electro project started by Nicolas Arcade (born in Switzerland, from Thailand since 2004) and what he produces is both ambient and thrilling, taking the listener through a trip that leads one down a path of wild abandon. The first track is pure sound with a haunting vocal loop in the background, continuing on through ambience into a sea of static beauty. Images come into the mind’s eye of running through a field with the sun beaming down upon you, a river flowing beside you and the trees glowing with the dew of the morning. Abask is perfect for sleeping under the shade of a great oak and provides a necessary dose of escapism.

The sense of self begins to fade and as the a musical climax approaches, a great awakening of spirit is invoked. There is no drum beat pounding away or synth loop that makes a person dance, no static backbeat for the mind to use as pattern recognition, no tangible anchor to rhythm or tempo. Instead what is produced here by Noksidam is pure sound. It’s a sound and a style that finds itself in complete opposition to what is going on in the electronic music scene today.

Although it may not be danceable and the ethereal nature may not be immediately attention grabbing, its serene and beautiful production quality melding with pure synthesizers creates an inescapable landscape. The dark Exedra gives the impression of a moving black cloud that covers the land, while elements of this piece harbour light in these darkened alcoves. Moving slowly through a musical sky, the cloud reveals a valley where one becomes lost in the jungles below. Subtle layers are added to the electric organ like time moving through different modes. Phrases found here are akin to that of a passing bard, where the deities play in the realms of the pure land. If we revisit the image from earlier and look introspectively into the mind’s eye, this tulpa now sits with the gods on a lotus, its feet wading ever so delicately into the cosmic stream forever in wonder of the stars. The music melts away the stark corporeal boundaries drawn in the physical realm and releases the soul to become one with the sounds as it creates a universe of pure light. One song moves into the next and ambient light washes over everything in its path, and in doing so bringing with it memories such my first kiss, and the love that came with it.

Sometime nearing the end of this transcendental experience I wish that it would never end. Feelings of childhood, running with my feet bare in the grass, and images of the deer grazing in the willow glades behind my house. I sleep forever dissipating into the eternal sound of the Abask EP. When it ends, it leaves me begging for more. The songs are entirely too short and this causes me to break out of my trance. Nicolas Arcade is a master of the ambient and his sounds have the ability to take the listener away, into places that only our far off ancestors could know. I hope that there is more to come from him – in the meantime, we have this great piece of art to listen to that will continue to captivate an audience for years to come.

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