Infinity Padlock is an EP that finds Nudge exploring voices on the fringes of their album-based output. The group netted their largest audience with their 2005 release Cached, which came out on the well-respected Kranky imprint. Fans will recognize members Paul Dickow and Honey Owens under their solo monikers, Strategy and Valet, respectively. Dickow’s been a canny observer of independent musics for a long time, and the nuance and depth of the work he releases speaks to his keen ear and devoted eclecticism. Owens, for her part, has released some of the more celebrated psych work of the last few years.
Lately, the work of both Strategy and Nudge have been fascinating submersions of funk tactics in ambient atmospheres, yielding a fetching blend of homemade distortion, grotty polyrhythm, and spacious effects. Infinity Padlock, however, reflects a more meditative side of the group, one that’s deeply in touch with the post-acid agenda of Owens’ work. On “War Song” the group offers a watery, echo-laden reflection of the folk idiom, complete with layers of reverbed electric guitar, silvery vocals, and down-tempo percussion. “Angel Decoy” conjures shoegaze by generating a thick haze of blissful noise from which tiny shards of guitar, organ, and fiddle dart out like cut lightning bolts and sleet rain. The track is a shuddering analog storm system that would make Yellow Swans proud. “Sickth” enables the weight of an open nighttime sky and the fastidious activity of insects to converge in a gorgeous dream sequence. The EP closes with “Time Delay Twin,” a sort of bedroom folk clad in Sonic Youth pajamas.
Infinity Padlock is crawling with meticulous artistry that serves to shape complex, pliable moods. Far more than a throwaway collection of odd and ends, this EP deserves a respected place in the Nudge catalogue and your year-end best-of list.