NAIMA BOCK - BELOW A MASSIVE DARK LAND
NAIMA BOCK - BELOW A MASSIVE DARK LAND
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NAIMA BOCK - BELOW A MASSIVE DARK LAND

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Released: 27/09/2024

Most of the writing of Naima Bock’s second album, Below A Massive Dark Land, was a solitary affair. It may not sound like it – it’s made up of strong, purposeful arrangements with a huge host of musicians, filled with cradling space and warm light. This will also come as a surprise to anyone who has seen Naima perform in the time since the release of her 2022 debut Giant Palm, which was undoubtedly a communal experience. But there’s power in the solitary, too. Giant Palm was arranged with collaborator Joel Burton, but going this one alone in search of something that was truly hers, Naima found she was capable of more. “After me and Joel stopped working together”, she remembers, “it was an impossibility to even fathom doing arrangements myself but then I started learning violin and it was possible”. Finding that she could go it alone was incredibly powerful for Naima: “I think I needed it, to be able to feel proud of something”. Beyond the writing process, however, the record is not a stark, stripped back affair. Below… still has the majesty that made Giant Palm so remarkable. Having tugged the first record down from the skies and spreading it across the earth, Naima finds a newfound vocal power and confidence born from hundreds of hours on stage, and the music sounds fuller, more tangible, and no less enveloping.This can be heard on the album’s lead singles: “Kaley” feels fresh and surprising in its rug-pull choppiness but is distinctly Naima in its swinging, jubilant choruses. The accompanying “Further Away” takes a different tack, drawing you in with its simplicity. Finally, the hazy, luxurious beauty of “Feed My Release” draws on the sepia-toned traditions of The Roches, John Prine and Loudon Wainwright III and imbues them with the kind of stark confessional songwriting of Mount Eerie. These are ambitious, rich arrangements that reach deeper and darker lyrically than Giant Palm.

Below a Massive Dark Land was predominantly produced by Jack Osborne (Bingo Fury) and Joe Jones, and recorded at The Crypt in north London, with additional production and arrangement by Oliver Hamilton (caroline, Shovel Dance Collective) and Naima herself. Six of the tracks on Below… were mixed by Jason Agel, with the remainder done by Osborne and Jones. The album was mastered by Kevin Tuffy.