Improving Silence (Crowd Control)
Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., Feb. 6, 2004
NickNackImproving Silence (Crowd Control) Merging hip-hop and jazz into nothing short of beautiful music, NickNack's Improving Silence will surely surprise those that have, until now, underestimated the depth of Austin's ever-burgeoning DJ scene. Recruiting the instrumental prowess of Blaze cohorts Ephraim Owens on trumpet and Michael Malone on soprano saxophone, Nick's programming provides the ideal medium for turning aural escapades into impressionistic subtlety. With prodding bass work supplied by local all-stars Mark Miller, D-Madness, and Yoggie, tracks like "Simple Shortcomings" and "Suitable Modulation" pulsate with a telling life of their own. While lead single "Mustard Seed" is the only track that finds Nick utilizing his scratchy skills, his impeccable orchestration of string samples and ethereal sound effects invigorate Improving Silence with a healing quality seldom found within the realms of percussive orientation. "Human Experience," featuring Laura Scarborough on both vocals and Wurlitzer, conjures the dirge sensibilities of Portishead as it longs to be felt rather than merely heard. More upbeat jaunts including "Soul Nourishment" and the wicked "Fighting Facts" build momentum as they develop from simple meditations into unadulterated adrenaline rushes. All things considered, Improving Silence should be heralded as a classic of its subgenre; it's every bit as impressive as the best that the Greyboys and DJ Krushes of the universe have to offer.