NLF3: Ride on a Brand New Time

NLF3 are a trio comprising blood brothers F. Lor and Mitch Pires and spiritual brother Don Nino, and have spent time living in the USA and Germany over the years. That German adventure may explain, in part, the glitchy minimalist techno soundscapes that pervade on their latest release. A wide field of polyrhythms, drones and half-heard guitar bursts place the band firmly in the areas of esoteric exploration that Eno and others have made their own over the years, although there is often an insistence about the percussion / drums that makes NLF3 a quite unique proposition. ‘Hurricane’, for example, sounds like a collaboration between Kraftwerk and Shellac, forced through a pop prism.

Surprisingly catchy, these snatches of tunefulness are like shards of sunlight through holes in a bordello’s blacked-out windows. The Pires lads have actually spent time at the feet of Nigerian genius Feli Kuti, and though the impact of that influence is not automatically evident, it has certainly given them access to yet another world of instrumentation, arrangement and rhythmicism. NLF3’s best aspect is, indeed, their willingness to revel in ideas. Anything can be the lead voice: during ‘Mmm, What Curse?’ from the anchoring bassline to the panning, bell-harmonicised guitarwork there’s much intrigue to be found as percussion, effects and the odd rave-era crescendo intertwine and play to form a piece of music of some gravitas. That it never feels pretentious or forced is crucial to an LP that breathes in several languages.

Joe Shooman