It was when she set her sights on Cuba for 2009's debut album Nightlong that her musical journey took a more unexpected turn. Minimal in structure but not in sound, the full-length saw Nidam shaping samples of live Cuban musicians into a series of repetitive loops. The result was a brave idea slightly undermined by the fact that the loose Cuban grooves sound somewhat neutered by Nidam's molecular obsession with shoehorning them into rigid cycles. Even so, there were moments when the transplanting of organic Latin sounds into a synthetic techno environment was successful, evoking the atmosphere of Cadenza artists such as Ernesto Ferraya.
This is something Luciano's label surely recognised, given they're releasing Nidam's much more diverse and satisfying second album. Album opener "On My Street," for instance, could have you assuming it was a mid-'90s G-Stone album, with an insouciant guitar, ambling drumbeat and relaxed jazzy vibe sounding like classic Kruder and Dorfmeister. She plays up her jazz leanings on "Sunday Sunday" too, sending keys rippling over muted bass before a theatrical brass sample lowers the curtain.
Both are fine—if a bit featherweight—compared to when Nidam focuses on heavier beats. Indeed, "The Great Suspenders" feels like you're being circled by a boxer as the rhythm bounces from foot to foot, odd acid burbles stretched as taut as sinew across the top. There's also a sense of disciplined aggression in "Send a Pigeon" where—even as a hissing synth noise begins to rise like mounting fury over a jacking house groove—it never overwhelms the track's ruthless focus. And while the bassline that drops midway through the unsettling "Harmonious Funk" is too restrained to really pack what you might call a punch, its precise deployment could still knock you sideways. Nidam's strength comes from nimble agility rather than simple muscle, a desire to keep moving that seemingly inspires both her life and music.