OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, I’m in a basement bar in Dalston, painted black of course (the room, not me) on a Sunday night in July and it’s the hottest day of the year so far; this had better be good.  I was in Birthdays on Stoke Newington Road for the launch party for a new release from The Nyco Project, whose EP “The New Machine” is being released in the form of an app.  The Nyco Project (TNP) has four members: Ben Hardy, Zahara Muñoz, Joantoni Segui and Daisy Brodskis.  I’m not going to list their instruments because, apart from the drummer, Joantoni, they mix it up quite a lot.

There were two support bands for the evening, Sky Between Leaves and Turnpike Glow.  TNP decided to ignore the usual headline-band-last hierarchy and played between the two support bands to ensure that anyone leaving early to make sure they could actually get home on public transport (yeah, that’s me) didn’t miss their set. Unfortunately that meant I missed Turnpike Glow; sorry about that and I’ll try to catch you soon.

After an interactive session using the sound and vision clips from the EP on a big screen which allowed the audience to remix the songs in real time, Sky Between Leaves took the stage to play a set which was enthusiastically received despite the unbearable heat in the venue.  The low-tech lighting effect created by shining a lamp through a stencilled cylinder rotating on a Technics SL1200 deserves a mention as well.

TNP are usually described as psychedelic indie, but there’s a lot more than that going on.  From the opening song of the set, “Blown”, it’s obvious that they have great songs but the really impressive thing is that they deliver so well as a live act.  The playing isn’t flashy, but the arrangements are perfect and when it has to be spot-on (vocal harmonies, for example) the band always nail it.  The EP tracks “The New Machine”, “Fade Away” and “You’re So Weak” are spaced equally throughout the set, but TNP save the best for last.  The final three songs, the storming “Poor”, the experimental “Disco Pedro” (which has a feel of early Pink Floyd) and the closer “She’s Only Carbon” are stunning.  The final song was dedicated to a friend of the band who is no longer with us and demonstrated the quality of the band as they gave a perfect performance while struggling visibly with strong emotions.

So, what’s all the fuss about the EP/app release?  The concept is that the band recorded each instrumental and vocal take as audio and video files with the motto “Everything you hear, you see”.  They took this concept to the Arts Council, which agreed to fund the project (so even that losing lottery ticket is a winner for someone) and that enabled them to produce the app which shows the video footage of all of the takes used in the production and allows the user to isolate individual instrumental and vocal parts or to get information about the band members.  It’s an original idea which works really well because the listener gets the chance to unpick the song and hear the way the parts fit together as well as having plenty of eye-catching visuals.  It’s very addictive because you can’t see or hear everything at one attempt and you have to repeat to pick up on the parts you missed.  And the live interactive version on the big screen is even better.  Apparently there’s a chance that you might even be able to see this at The Barbican at some point and it’s the kind of installation that should work really well in that environment.

As a live band, The Nyco Project is superb and the EP/app is an innovative attempt to explore the possibilities being opened up by developing technologies; I love both approaches and I think you should download the EP/app and then get out and see the band live as soon as you can.  You won’t regret it.