NIHILS are really taking off, through the stratosphere and beyond.The Berlin-based constellation of multi-instrumentalists Ramon, Thomas and Florian have created not only a new EP - AM/PM Part 2:Interplanetary Maze - but an entire space system. Five tracks, each with its own world orbiting around central themes of humanity, exploration and the future.
After writing their previous EP - AM/PM Part I - during a complete lockdown, sharing and sending stems and sketches digitally, the triogot back to writing in one room together, meeting on Fridays like clockwork. After a concert-less year that still saw them break the 50million streams mark on Spotify, it was a kick back out of theircomfort zone, stepping out from the capsule, an optimistic space walk with no tether, waiting excitedly for a note or a beat to break thesilence. The sounds came and burst like a supernova, formingmoments like the middle-eight in HALFMOON, taking the band downa wormhole, a journey to unvisited territory, as much about self-discovery as escapism.
Opening track BACK TO THE START shimmers with hope, astatement of intent filled with blips and lush synthesiser chords, the bass hits as clean as Kubrick’s Discovery One corridors. Buzzing with the confidence and poise of a group open to new ideas, the songsurprises with moments where the bare bones and foundations are visible; there’s nothing to hide here. LAJARES feels mechanical yet intimate, an android of a song to represent NIHILS’ singularity. Sequenced sounds meet acoustic soundscapes from afar, white noise merges with a blend of laid-back falsettos and low vocals tocreate a 6/8 world of wonder.
The first single, I WON’T BE, with its uplifting vibes, 16ths-powered bassline and Kraftwerk-esque vocoder sample, gives us a taste of what we’ve been missing in a year without Berlin club culture. NIHILS refuse to be held back by gravity, delivering a swirl of synths arounda solid core of a beat, Ramon’s trademark effortless vocals delivered with just enough emotion to push them into an eternal trajectory in the vacuum of our post-lockdown minds.
LOW ON ENERGY takes on the chaos we’ve made for ourselves onEarth “we’re melting away like glaciers“ and the crushing lethargythat sets in once we face the task of fixing it. Musically it challenges its own title, a juddering juggernaut of synth-line powering the trackforward, a stellar engine buzzing and ripping through the cosmos onthe search for a new planet to start all over again.
Known for their laser-sharp visuals, NIHILS found space-age inspiration in Basim Magdy’s futuristic works at Berlin’s KönigGalerie. It opened their eyes to more space-themed art, OlafurEliasson’s among others, and eventually led them to Alex Miller & Alex Nagy (together SPACEFILLER). Their cover artwork of abstract pixels is created with code, using the NIHILS soundtrack as a source, uniting digital mastery with a unique human fingerprint.
If Space Odyssey was 2001, and listening parties were 2011, in 2021NIHILS launched a weather-balloon from the German capital 35,000 metres up into the stratosphere. Attached was a Transparent speaker, signalling the EP into the ether, literally launching it on release day.
At a moment in our existence where everyone on Earth is faced with questions that are no longer fragmented or individual, and billionaires are the lucky few to gaze down upon our planet, Interplanetary Mazegives us all more space, just when we really need it.