Ciscandra Nostalghia is, without question, one of my favourite artists of all time. As an artistic force, there is literally nobody else like her on earth. I’ve written about many bands that are hard to label due to an eclectic and varied sound but, as far as I’m concerned Nostalghia is the only truly genreless artist.
To even begin to comprehend Nostalghia as a band, you need to simply accept its namesake is not of this world – an celestial being of light descended from another reality. Her voice is not really like anything you’ve heard before, a gentle and ethereal melody, occasionally with an unusual (yet somehow perfect) delivery, like a transcendental evolution of Kate Bush. Musically, she is backed only by writing partner, Roy Gnan, on electronic drum kit, keys, and samples, with the occasional inclusion of a cello for added ceremony.
This is where the otherworldly magic that is Nostalghia really shows. These few pieces of a simple puzzle… only it’s not a simple puzzle. The soundscapes Gnan creates are incredibly deep and complex. To create the soundtrack for such a truly special artist like Ciscandra Nostalghia is a huge responsibility and somehow, in Roy Gnan, she has found one of the very few people capable of such a task.
I’ve mentioned before that there have been a handful of albums over the years that I’d classify as ‘perfect’. An 11 out 10. Well, without question, Nostalghia’s 2014 full-length debut, ‘Chrysalis’, is one such perfect album. Listen to that album front to back in a dark room with a good set of headphones and prepare to be lost at sea.
That incredible album was followed by ‘Imagō’ (after a few standalone singles and a foray into the John Wick universe). All of this has proven that Nostalghia is the real deal. While ‘Chrysalis’ is a very special album to me, what has followed it has continued its trajectory – incredible, unique art from an incredible, unique artist.
So, how do I defined Nostalghia’s music, given I opened this write up by suggesting she couldn’t be defined? Well, I don’t. Not really. I simply ask you to listen for yourself, and experience for yourself this undeniably unique artist who is very, very special to me. But, if I had to, I suppose I’d say it’s a sort of gothic electronic rock, but even writing that feels pointless.
It is dramatic, dark, beautiful, sincere, powerful, strange, exciting, catchy, comforting… It’s an incredible vocalist, and an incredible multi instrumentalist, and the result is unquantifiable… and perfect.