NNHMN (aka Non-Human Persons) is a minimal wave duo from Berlin, Germany. I accidentally discovered them last year after I went on a post-punk binge. To say that I’m in absolute love with NNHMN is an understatement. To me—they’ve done no wrong. They are aesthetically and musically flawless. I truly think they are doing the (dark) Lord’s work here on earth. The Minimal synth revival is currently having a bit of a moment, and in my opinion, NNHMN is the spearhead.
“Shadow in the Dark” is NNHMN’s third full-length. It had some big shoes to fill as the follow up to “Church of No Religion.” And let me just say, it doesn’t disappoint. “Shadow in the Dark” sounds like the soundtrack to the most dank 1980s goth club you’ve ever had the displeasure of stepping into. The production quality is warm, especially for an album that is so goddamn cold. There’s a grainy, hissy quality to “Shadow in the Dark” that makes me feel like it was made on an analog four-track tape recorder. And if it wasn’t, it definitely sounds legitimate. To further paint illustrate what NNHMN is like, take one lo-fi randomized bass sequence, one drum loop, and some sparse synths to add a little air to the high-end. Repeat it over and over again. Now add subdued, cold vocals with a light plated reverb to the mix. This isn’t something groundbreaking or new, and in theory it shouldn’t work—but it totally does.
It’s hard to say exactly what’s going on with the artwork for “Shadow in the Dark.” It’s by a really talented painter named Aleksandra Waliszewska, who does a lot of this sort of thing. I honestly think that it’s a gorgeous piece which perfectly matches up with the grotesque spirit of “Shadow in the Dark.” Which is very much like listening to a beautiful, cold, faceless clone of Wednesday Addams with something ugly in sitting in her open head surrounded by lamprey-like teeth.
I’ve always admired artists that can take a sound from a bygone era and recreate it flawlessly. Ultimately, I think that the greatest potential for creative output arrives when an artist perfects an old formula and builds upon it with subsequent releases. Deathspell Omega, did this type of thing for Black Metal when they released “Si Monumentum Requires Circumspice,” and I think that NNHMN could follow suit—only with Minimal Wave. “Shadow in the Dark” is unsettling, groovy, calm, and oddly chic.
And I know it’s a little late at this point, but it was totally album of the year for me 2019. I’ve listened to this one…a lot.
Anyway…GO CHECK THIS ONE OUT. RIGHT MEOW.
RECCOMMENDED FOR: Non-human persons, people who have permanent resting bitch face, minimal wave enthusiasts.
Stand-Out Tracks: “Shadow in the Dark,” “Scars,” “Der Unweise,” “Vampire,” “Special,” “Black Sun” (ALL OF THEM)
Album Color Profile: #000000
You can find all things NNHMN at https://nnhmn.bandcamp.com/