The latest installment of THERE, Commend’s ongoing series of music recorded beyond but inspired by the communal efforts of RVNG Intl.’s Lower East Side space, arrives courtesy of New York sound artist Rachika Nayar. fragments is an EP of sonic miniatures Nayar constructed from guitar loops and in the familiar comforts of her own bedroom.
While growing up and developing a relationship with the instrument and her capabilities, using delay pedals to improvise layered guitar pieces evolved from a practice into a deep source of self-exploration and restoration for Nayar. On Our Hands Against the Dusk, Nayar’s debut full-length released earlier this year, the guitar is present but processed, synthesizing with the surrounding instruments and often transforming beyond recognition. As a companion piece of-sorts to Our Hands, her fragments EP reveals the types of raw guitar sketches that make up the core from which these grander mutated compositions often originate. The form remains complex, informed by virtuosic, dexterous guitar playing, but the collection of sound retains a sense of primitivism, and represents a new experience for Nayar in sharing such an intimate part of her creative practice.
Nayar views this practice as a constant companion. The cyclical, meditative quality of exploring loop-based expression is a means for Nayar to cleanse her creative space, and provide a psychological architecture in her home where she can “access my heart and cultivate some kind of internal movement in times of stasis.” The pieces on fragments also pay homage to influences on Nayar’s guitar technique, ranging from Pat Metheny’s interpretations of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint to emotive Post/Math-Rock crossovers like Don Caballero and Toe.
fragments is not only a document of Nayar’s domesticity and the preliminary writing processes that evolve into song, but also a measurement of memory and spiritual realignment. Much like the metaphorical models of past homes through which Ted Kooser wanders in his essay Small Rooms in Time, Nayar uses fragments to preserve the moment, both fleeting and indelible, through its connection to place, in unchanging, raw detail. fragments provides an intimacy between Nayar and those listening in parallel spaces, activating our collective past and shared unconscious experience.
Rachika Nayar’s fragments will be available in cassette and digital formats from Commend / RVNG Intl. on August 13, 2021.