By Juliana Russell
Nathassia’s debut album “Light of the World” is finally here! A talented woman of Eastern and Western descent brings us an eclectic mix of entirely unique songs.
“Creation” gives listeners a little foreshadowing, a taste of what’s to come, with some grooving electronic rhythms and effects. “Egypt’s Queen” starts with retro, reverse sound effects, then adds in Nathassia’s characteristic and incredibly unique tone and little vocal inflections. The harmonies are quite enchanting in this song.
I love the way Nathassia rolls her r’s—there are lots of vocal effects done in post, but she also does her own inflections in real time that give her voice such a unique sound. “Parasite” has a deep, driving bass that compliments her voice very well. Her voice can be very aggressive and rough, but also very delicate and wispy.
A lot of Nathassia’s songs incorporate a scale called Phrygian mode, which is easily discernible from the minor second between the tonic and scale degree two (first and second notes). This set of notes is what makes a lot of her music sound Middle Eastern, because it’s the closest-sounding to scales used in Arabic music, but using Western notes. Of course the instrumentation also contributes to the sound. The melodic contours that her voice and the other instrumental effects make in “Is Everybody Searching” are very beautiful.
I absolutely love “Turning Headz”. The driving bass and percussion, the vocal effects, both in real time and in post, the great lyrical message… It’s a greatly crafted and perfectly executed song. “Contagious” has some really interesting synthetic percussion, and wobbly bass. The tremolo strings are also a very nice touch, giving a sense of uncertainty that fits well with the song.
A little more on the delicate, instrumental side, “Light of the World” features a lot more sparse bass, and incorporates nice occasional piano and what sounds like a ney (traditional Middle Eastern bamboo flute) as well.
With tons of variation while still remaining cohesive and interesting, “Telepathically” is my favorite. It incorporates Nathassia’s usual superb and emotional vocals, but also has some pretty sweet snare drum sounds, piano, and thumping bass. Uncharacteristic of a lot of pop music, which usually has a lot of different layers going on at once, this song has a lot of space—this amount of silence lets the sounds really sink in and makes you think more about what you just listened to. The silence then makes the listener even more appreciative of the parts that have more melodic action.
In “Pagan Goddess”, Nathassia explores more of her lower, gritty vocal range in the verse section, then brings it back up in the chorus. The vocal layering is exceptional in this song, with tons of harmonies in very high as well as very low registers.
Like the first track, “Destruction” includes samples from the rest of the other songs off the album. However, as the title suggests, there is a much darker tone, and brings the album to a satisfying close. Nathassia’s debut album will certainly make its mark on audiences worldwide, with her incredible vocal tone and originality. Cheers to a fantastic debut!