“Come home to the body”, Nyokabi Kariũki recites on the title track of her debut LP FEELING BODY. The record is an exploration of the body as a home and a reconciliation with the corporeal entity in distress. Based between Nairobi, Maryland, and New York City, the young producer and sound artist follows her release of peace places: Kenyan Memories which explores concepts of home and belonging through field recordings made in her hometown. With FEELING BODY, Nyokabi Kariũki turns that search to the flesh she inhabits. Intimately she recounts the process of recovery in its incompletion and with its difficulties in search of acceptance of the forever-changed body.

Playing with electronic sounds and vocal resonance, Kariũki orchestrates a minimal and experimental record. FEELING BODY is not an easy record. It is uncomfortable and might take a second listen to grasp. It is an intriguingly complex arrangement of sound. From the use of synthesizers and electronic production to the organic field recordings of water slowly dripping on the haunting 12-minute-long title track. The sonic journey of FEELING BODY is a personal one. The voice of the artist guides through its depth, at times layered and electronically distorted, at times a whispered conversational recital, mingled with field recordings in various local languages like Kikuyu, Kiswahili, and Maa. Nyokabi Kariũki shares her struggles of coming to terms with the body as a place of the battle against illness. The pained vocals and the cracks in her voice towards the end of the title track carry that weight.

The sound world that the artist conjures is not easy to inhabit. But like the body tormented by illness, it is a discomfort that we have to reconcile with. Mapping the body and the social aspect of Long Covid through the six songs on the LP, Nyokabi Kariũki does not brush over the struggles and discomfort but channels them into the music. “If you are not hopeful for your body, then who is?”, she asks. In the compositional myriad of vocals, electronics, strings, and in the thousand quiet folds in the fabric of the record, Kariũki nurtures and holds that hope.

Every Monday, the NBHAP staff brings an exciting new artist to your attention alongside a 30-track-strong Introducing Playlist on Spotify. Feel invited to follow the playlist and give these talents a spin. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive monthly updates about new music.

This time, we curated the playlist featuring Nyokabi Kariũki. Along with tracks from her new album, this week’s update includes Munyasya, Miss Grit, Surma, and more. Tune in below.