Nix Northwest is a London-based hidden gem with a distinctive blend of jazz and hip-hop and impressive lyricism. His new album, ‘Xin’s Disappearance’ (released March 15th), takes us on the journey of escaping the city, facing temptation, and finding peace. Jamey Waterhouse reviews.
Nix self-produced, mixed, and wrote the album, having full creative control, like he said, he “made this beat with [his] bare hands”. And in doing so, made a beautifully personal and artful album. This is not the first time he has self-produced, also taking credit for his EP ‘Life’s a B***h, I Just Need an Early Night’. This new album has been a long time coming, proposed to come out in 2022, but was definitely worth the wait, as it is an incredibly complete album in terms of style, story, and consistency.
The beginning of the album takes place in the city where Xin, Nix’s alter ego (as he says in Problems, Xin is “Nix in mirror image”), is taunted by the Devil on his shoulder. The city appears to be a suffocating place, only increasing the desire to escape that laces the lyrics of the album.
Showcases the lifestyle of partying that the Devil character thrives in
The opening songs Preface: The City of Xin, One Way Ticket, Time Out, and Dog To A Bone, speak to Xin’s aching to leave the city where temptation and sin are unavoidable. Sun In My Eyes, and its accompanying music video, showcases the lifestyle of partying that the Devil character thrives in. The songs Dog To A Bone and The Occasional L introduce the girl with the white tee and the orange flares, a character that rejects Xin, but seems to still be key in the album.
Hopping in his pink Cadillac, Xin escapes the city with us in his passenger seat. The songs Rearview Mirror, Crash Interlude, Keep On Running, and Xinterlude hold the core of the album’s story; Xin is constantly checking behind him, his paranoia prevalent.
We hear the death of the pink Cadillac
Rearview Mirror is speculated to feature Lausse The Cat, someone Nix has credited with narration and backing vocals on the album, though he isn’t officially credited on any song on the album. The song moves easily into Crash Interlude, as we hear the death of the pink Cadillac (a literal car that features in the video for Nix’s single Drive Slow). After police intercom, Crash Interlude seamlessly transitions into Keep On Running, as Xin flees the scene of the crash. In this more mellow song, Xin seems to be letting go, running from his crash, starting afresh.
Xinterlude is a short but mighty song in the album, in that it contains moral questioning and religious imagery. This seems to be an amalgamation of Xin’s moral journey. The interlude ends in a series of layered phone calls from friends, that all express that they miss him, and that they haven’t seen him in a while. The song, to me, is the most introspective, the most raw.
Adieu // Freedom, You Ain’t Got a Chance Boy (the only song with a credited feature; ENNY), and Problems return to Nix’s characteristic upbeat sound. These songs reference childhood, continuing the introspection from Xinterlude.
Xin Your Head seems to be bringing Xin’s relationship with the Devil to the forefront, confirming that the Devil is Xin’s paranoid hallucination. The Devil seems to finally be gone in the summery end song Satan Doesn’t Swim, where Xin is in love with where he is now, his inner peace found.
The songs aren’t all the album has to offer; it is an incredibly well-crafted experience. Starting with the animated album cover, the Devil appears out of hiding, throwing money at Nix, whilst the girl with the white tee and the orange flares hangs off a branch. These two characters are also seen dancing on the street in the cover of The Occasional L single.
A beautifully introspective album
This concept is something Nix has clearly been thinking about for a while, with the single The Occasional L coming out as far back as 2021. This is a beautifully introspective album, with impressive lyricism that holds one of the best album concepts I have seen in a while. If the jazz/hip-hop genre is your thing, you won’t be disappointed with this album.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article video courtesy of @youthful.wizadry via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this video.
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