Arya Zappa creates a mood somewhere between French noir style cinema and the dark gloom of a dystopian cityscape. Now or Always is a single off the artist’s debut LP Dark Windows. Inspired by a Philip Larkin poem, the track dwells on the question inherent in many relationships; “is it for now or always?” the singer asks. Her vocals take center stage on the single and throughout the record and after Arya Zappa hits the first note, you will know why. Her smoky voice has an unusual androgynous vibe adding to the mystery created around the alter ego.

Dripping with layered synths, the instrumentation is a mix between 80s synth-pop spiced with the artist’s experimental ambitions. As a single Now or Always is a complex dramatic ballad but it fits even better embedded in the record. Arya Zappa’s debut is a meticulously arranged concept bursting with different ideas. It is a dark window through which we get a glimpse into the cinematic world of the singer, the beauty of darkness, the remedy in destruction, the resurrection of a fallen dystopia, all of it marked by unique vocal power and an inherent touch of nocturnal eroticism. With Dark Window, the singer introduces the world to her musical vision and it is one, not just for now, but for always.

All Photos by Liv Toerkell for NBHAP.

Every Monday we’re updating the 50-track-strong Listen AHEAD Playlist on Spotify, adding ten strong songs by sill relatively unknown artists at the beginning. This week’s new picks also include fresh songs from Meadow Meadow, Toros, Home Counties, Lewin and Aurelia Dey who we also picked for the Die Neuen Schweden showcase event later this summer. Follow the playlist right here on Spotify and give these new talents a chance.