Anyone who ignorantly thinks that electronic music can’t be surreal, calculated and incredibly cerebral should do themselves a favor and check out “4Play,” the latest single from techno princess NIK:11. In “4Play,” listeners able to get up close and personal to some of the most rigidly diverse beats in all of pop music today thanks to a stellar production and ultra-raw format of presentation, something many critics had claimed wasn’t possible in a post-millennial world. I’ll give the skeptics this much; NIK:11 isn’t your typical electronica artist, but the revolution of modern indie techno she’s spearheading cannot, and will not, be ignored.
I love the way that NIK:11 has stylized herself differently than everyone else in pop. Sure, she’s got all the hallmarks of a traditional pop star, even the ethics of an old school house artist and a deep appreciation for the complexities of industrial and Europop, but she doesn’t like to advertise her mammoth musical IQ like some of us would if we possessed it. NIK:11 is nothing if she isn’t humble, as both a recording artist and as a person, but that doesn’t mean that “4Play” is another understated electro-pop fusion song. Quite the contrary is true.
“4Play” is the kind of track that you can’t help but dance to, whether you’re much of a dancer or not. Its beat syncs up to our hearts from the very start, and even if we’re adverse to the notion, once the song is in full swing our bodies are in motion alongside it. There’s a powerful aura around a song like this, and NIK:11 didn’t invent it. It’s carnal, primitive almost, and connects all of us in some strange, divinely woven tapestry that is the human experience and all of the emotions we share where there are no words available for expressing them.
From coast to coast, everyone is talking about NIK:11, and her exposure hasn’t been strictly limited to the electronica circuit. I was actually introduced to “4Play” through a colleague of mine who usually covers – brace yourself for this one – country music. He had become so enamored by the rhythm of the track that he insisted I give it a spin and see what I thought for myself. He wasn’t wrong; this is some really special club music if I ever heard it. After all, how often do a country music critic and a rock beat journalist both raving over a techno song?
I honestly can’t wait to hear NIK:11’s future work that she develops moving into the future. There’s so much that “4Play” hints at, so many possibilities for extended growth for its performer and songwriter that I really think it would be criminal to write her off as a one-hit wonder. This girl is going places, and she’s shining a bright light on her native Detroit music scene’s most hallowed ground. There are few doing what she does better than the way she’s doing it, and it’s going to be hard to top this track’s effectiveness in the remaining months of 2018.