Parenting is an emotional rollercoaster that begins with conception and never abates. Hope and fear battle in an expectant parent’s heart; seriousness and playfulness do-si-do once a child is born. Poignancy and pride compete as a child leaves home, and if grandchildren are conceived, the cycle begins anew.
Honey is dedicated to Noiko‘s daughter Gabi, now 4, who accompanied him throughout the process of creation. Or perhaps it was the other way around, as the parent was inspired by the child. Toddlers have a different idea of timbre and pattern, although there’s a fine line between the random and the instinctive. When a child says, “I sound good, Daddy!”, a father might smile at sounds that in other contexts would make him cringe. As we age, we are often taught to place experimental tendencies in a cardboard box and to shelve them in the attic to make room for the even, melodic, and predictable. Most people never re-discover such tendencies. Just as the human tongue reduces its speech options drastically based on its surroundings, the human ear follows suit. In terms of global creativity, this is a disaster.
Humble is the man who allows a child to be his muse. In the case of Noiko, old neural passages are reopened; the sonic world grows as rich and untamed as an uncharted forest. Sheet music for Honey would look like a hodgepodge of cues and notes, with little apparent pattern. And yet, there is a pattern to the album, an overall tapestry of wonder. From time to time, a clear melodic passage emerges, thanks to the turntable contributions of Łukasz Maciejewski: a patch of dirt in which other seeds can grow. These seeds, sample packets of clarinet, piano, glockenspiel, guitar and drums, grow to different sizes. Some fill entire tracks, others but snippets. Some seem to have been specifically planted, others happily strewn. Abstractions abound: stuttered electronics that loop and repeat, accompanied by offstage windings, rubbings and taps. The sound climate varies from track to track, while the overall tone remains the same: sustained curiosity, like that of a child on a first visit to a toy store. The analogue mastering is as crisp as a macro camera, the stereo effects superb. At the end of the final track, Noiko’s daughter attempts to sing along. There’s nothing about these tracks that would make the typical adult try to sing along, even though one could; and that’s the entire point. (Richard Allen)