Friday 22 November 2013


What's in a name? Sometimes quite a lot. Sometimes literally nothing. Sometimes a little in-between these two things, when there's a spot of retroactive continuity going into explanations of names and stuff. But something like Shelf Nunny... I'm not sure. Say it out loud. Shelf Nunny. It's a fine name, a strong name. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be rude or if it isn't and— actually, I shouldn't get held up on this. It's a name and that's that.

So anyway, Shelf Nunny - real name Christian Gunning - is a producer from Santa Cruz, California, and he makes richly intricate glitchy beats. He's part of a collective called Sleepy Beach, who released his Dream Album EP earlier this year. It's nice to belong to a collective. I mean, a) there's a sense of belonging, which is pretty invaluable if you ask me and b) there's a shared sense of inspiration and each other's success.

This time, Shelf Nunny has teamed up with singer and trackmaker Eriko Toyoda for a seemingly long-ish-term collaboration. The second of their tracks together is called 'About The Boy' and it sounds a little something like this... (you have to press play).

From delicate beginnings - Shelf Nunny providing insectoid sampling of string pluckings and Eriko offering up the beautiful layered mist of her voice - the track enters, by way of snare patterns, into an increasingly busy and intricate world of sound. The percussion is wonderfully alive and dynamic: kicks thud like heartbeats, the snare hits crash like a crystal ball dropping into a box of wooden beads, woodblock ticks count time. Low synths accompany the glitching that characterises the song. But everything changes at around 1:45. A saw-wave bassline cuts in from nowhere, making wild runs beneath the ever heavenward vocals of Eriko, ushering in hi-hat rolls and winding toy percussion noises to join in, too.

By the end, we're left with a lonely beach of sounds. A glitchy crackling of samples gradually muffles and disappears under the weight of the organ melody, which coos and croons plaintively until they too fade out into nothing. It's an intensely pretty song, combining dynamic elements to present an out-of-body-experience of a song, with Eriko's distinctive voice guiding your spirit through the general background radiation of the unphysical world, its dripping percussive noises and quaint, quirky musical twists and turns in the form of Shelf Nunny's mastery of sound. The track teeters on the border between outright experimental glitch beatsmithing and leftfield pop loveliness and who needs it to fall either side? It is what it is: a really nice song.

Like Shelf Nunny on Facebook
Listen to Shelf Nunny on SoundCloud
Hear more Shelf Nunny on Bandcamp
Follow Shelf Nunny on Twitter
Check Shelf Nunny on Tumblr
Watch Shelf Nunny on YouTube

Like Eriko Toyoda on Facebook
Listen to Eriko Toyoda on SoundCloud
Hear more Eriko Toyoda on Bandcamp
Follow Eriko Toyoda on Twitter

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