For anyone already familiar with Ni, the title of their third album is bound to raise a smile. Fol
Naïs, literally “born mad” in Old French, is the name given to the fools and jesters of history’s
great rulers. This symbol of impertinence couldn’t be more appropriate for this new release
from the most unclassifiable of Rhône-Alpes quartets. Renowned for their “silly and bouncy”
(sic) sound, Ni tried their hand at darker, heavier music on Pantophobie (2019), reflecting
the period the band was going through.
Math Rock? Noise? Metal? Jazz? On these 10 new tracks, Ni delights more than ever in blurring the lines and confusing their audience, remaining true to their desire to go further in experimentation. A call to modernity, guitarists Anthony Béard and François Mignot exploit new pedals, driven by a desire for synthesizer-like sounds, deepening their alchemy with the anarchic rhythm section of Benoit Lecomte (bass) and Nicolas Bernollin (drums). From “Zerkon”, as chaotic as it is jovial, we know that the ears we’re addressing are preferably the most seasoned.
The tension is palpable on the following tracks, which are hybrids of Don Caballero and Meshuggah (“Chicot”, “Dagonet”), when they aren’t sprinkled with the breakcore of Igorrr (“Brusquet”) or the all-out rage of Botch (“Rigoletto”). Fortunately, Ni easily manages to incorporate relative breaths (“Berdic”, the triptych “Triboulet”), culminating in the slow, ambient “Cathelot”, with its hurdy-gurdy conveying a certain elevation. Pirouettes and nose-thumbing at musical convention follow one another.