A few nights ago at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY, I saw electronic musician Hiro Kone, (the moniker of Nicky Mao) perform from her debut LP Love is the Capital,  on Geographic North.  She is tall and her long dark hair dangles beside her, bangs and a beanie cover her face.  Her shy yet elusive demeanor did not prepare me for the sonic experience I was about to endure.

Hiro Kone is Iroquois for “I have spoken.” Like a butterfly burgeoning out of its cocoon, something beautiful is about to take place. The forthcoming album is her first piece of new music since her last EP Fallen Angels, was released in 2014 for Geographic North. Mao doesn’t speak just to speak, doesn’t make music to be consumed for an ephemeral moment and tossed away.  Her music is not just to be heard passively but to be deeply understood. Love is the Capital, is a form of awakening or annihilation.  It is not just Mao who is coming out of her cocoon but also forcing, us, the listener, to come out of the comatose state that we often find ourselves in. The time for silence and complacency is over. And Kone only aims to warn you in the process.

Mao draws music to its bare minimalist essentials, the droning unchanging quality relapses the listener into a state of dazed relaxation. Suffocating feedback entrance the listener in hypnotic songs such as, “Being Earnest” and  “Don’t Drink the Water” —a caveat: do not believe everything you hear. Until a jolt of bass awakens one, granting the listener a sense of autonomy.  In the song, “Infinite Regress” featuring vocals by Roxy Farman of Wetware, the intoned lyrics  “Do you still want this/ Do you?/ Do You?” repeat until they dissipate into the sonic ether.

Each song feels like a punch to the sternum, debilitating you yet at the same time inducing you to break free. “Rukshana” featuring Drew Mcdowall and “The Place Where Spirits Get Eaten”, feel like an attack, techno beats blare, creating an aural battle. If music is a tool for escapism then no one escapes unscathed in Love is the Capital.


About the Writer:

Music has always been an important part of Gabriela’s life. It is how her father learned how to speak English–through classic rock ballads and marks her social life. She also enjoys writing poetry and creative non-fiction. 

Twitter and Soundcloud – @genesequoi 

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