Words: James Frostick
After embarking on an odyssey that took him from Brisbane to Moscow, Danny Venzin aka Nite Fields returns with a collection of new material informed and shaped by the frostbitten isolation of Russia. ‘Not Your Time’ is the first cut from forthcoming Nite Fields sophomore record A Voyeur Makes No Mark, a track with an icy exterior – cold to the touch – that belies a pulsing heat that exists just below the surface.
For some, moving half a world away to Moscow would be a daunting prospect. Swapping the sweat-inducing humidity for a cooler climate is one thing, but to voluntarily brave the sub-zero winters of Russia’s capital is a whole other prospect entirely. Danny Venzin is clearly a different operator to most of us. Since the release of Depersonalisation – Nite Fields‘ 2015 LP – Danny has spent time abroad, living in Moscow while working on new Nite Fields material solo. For the uninitiated, a chunk of of Nite Fields’ output centres around isolated figures – perverted romantics, shadowy stalkers and voyeuristic souls that are equal parts sincere and suspect – so to purposefully isolate one’s self to inhabit the mind of a loner makes sense on a creative level. The real reasons for the move could be markedly different (the added music inspiration just a neat side effect), but for now I’ll work with what I’ve got.
Like much of Danny’s previous material, ‘Not Your Time’ is incredibly atmospheric. Utilising gear sourced around Moscow, Danny has assembled a tune that reflects its surroundings – bitterly cold and long nights, unfamiliar architecture, a populace that seems alien from afar. Robotic percussion, an omnipresent drone, throbbing bass – a dystopian palette that helps to set a downcast tone, but the addition of sharp guitar work (especially in the breakdown at 2:50) is akin to a fire crackling in the night (I’m drawn to it). Vocally, Danny’s monotone delivery helps position him, once again, as a watcher – a figure observing and commenting from afar, though I can’t divine sinister sentiments here. If anything, there’s traces of empathy. There’s still an apparent emotionlessness to his delivery, but while Danny offers counsel on the imperfections of everything, there’s an underlying sense of care – encouraging us to step away from the proverbial ledge. It’s as if he’s saying there’s still more to be done, the work (or the self) is not yet complete.
Though Danny has been operating in relative isolation (writing, recording and producing the bulk of the new Nite Fields output), he has drawn in help from other creatives to help actualise his sketches across several recording sessions. The entirety of the band’s original line-up (which includes members of Multiple Man and Nerve) contribute across different parts of the record, while ‘Not Your Time’ in particular features work from two musicians – drums by Christian Donaghey (from Northern Ireland’s Autumns) and backing vocals from Anya Kuts (Russia’s Love Cult). In the realm of contemporary dark-wave sound, few artists manage to package dystopian aesthetics and brooding isolation as well as Nite Fields – if this first taste of his hemisphere-crossing output is any indicator, he’s still in fine form.