Natalie Chami has spent the past decade developing a reputation as one of America's most compelling DIY artists. A mainstay of the Chicago scene, Chami — who has been exploring and improvising under the monicker TALsounds since 2009 — has built up an unpredictable discography that's impossible to categorize. It is, by its nature, impulsive music, guided in the moment by Chami's emotions and immediate sense of what should come next. Acquiesce — her fifth album, due out via NNA Tapes on May 22 — is an often blissful album, written in the first year of Chami's relationship with her fiancé, though it's no less probing or overwhelming as a result.
Lead single "No Rise," premiering at the top of the page, is the perfect introduction to Acquiesce, its two synthesizers floating into each others' orbits and then drifting away again as Chami sings: "I’m breathing by my strength." In an email to The FADER, she explained that the song came together quite naturally. "The long, instrumental beginning of “No Rise” was just me obsessing over sounds — letting them spiral together organically, much like thoughts have a tendency to do, while also trying to make sense of them."
"The song was originally over nine minutes long, with me just jammin’ on the MS20 trying to make it sound like a guitar solo," Chami continued. "It wasn’t until I started singing that I realized I was actually working through feelings of vulnerability and anxiety. I eventually got to this moment where there was nothing good, nothing bad, nothing spiritual going on, just me and my breath."
Listen to "No Rise" above.
Thumbnail image: Dan Duffy.