More Money More Problems: Exploring Nix Northwest's Mirror Image
Why is it that Xin disappears? Knowing the lyrical, but also very human elusiveness that defines Nix Northwest, the answer to that question will probably be found in the mazes of metaphor - and characteristically ‘west of north’ wordplay - throughout the album. ‘Problems’, however - the penultimate single in the runup to the album - starts to set out the mindsets that go into answering the question, and the foundations for the ever-intertwining plots of Nix’s art, his vision and, ultimately, his own experiences.
One of the most beautiful parts of Nix Northwest’s music is this sense of sometimes getting a direct line into the worldviews and thoughts of the character & person behind the lyrics - a beautifully oxymoronic combination of the surreal and real. Nix brings us into the world of Xin through ‘Problems’ with exactly this: a distorted and slightly muffled internal monologue asking the most deep and existential questions of life and death, accompanied in the background by echoes of hysterical, disturbing, choruses of laughter. From the off this immersion into Xin is one of immense and unwieldy depth; so can you blame Xin (“Nix in mirror image”) for wanting to get away from that?
Nix Northwest has this magical ability through his music to create worlds that are so piercing and vivid, and within only 30 seconds into the track, like the start of a cinematic masterpiece, scored by a tastefully mesmeric string section, you feel it done so magnetically already. It then takes only minimal musical musings, of which you can expect plenty, to become so entangled into and connected to this world, its character and ultimately, the person behind it. It invites the new listener to completely immerse in the imagination, primed for what is to come, and it reminds the seasoned listener to expect the magic of he who was once The Young Wizard, to cast his spell yet once again.
In one fell flawless swoop constituted by Nix essentially “passing” himself the mic, taking the stage with some precision-crafted, stylistically tonal harmonies layered in the BV’s, bringing in the bassline and focussing the percussion enters the familiar, beautiful cacophony of sounds that entangle you into a euphorically enjoyable ride, through a clean, clever and convictive piece of music.
The song carries itself with all of the auditory hallmarks that have made Nix Northwest an undeniable and unstoppable force in this game in only the way Nix Northwest can. The flow. The bars. The voice. The fascinating and completely absorbing velocity with which Nix unravels so much, so smoothly, so simply. It’s all there.
In a way, this track is one of continuity. It’s just that the continuum ‘Problems’ finds itself on is one of a discography that breaks into qualities of music for which the barrier to entry is so high. That veiled sweet spot of music, made entirely so because of its rarity, realness, and something so indescribably impactful that it spans every musical inch of the sounds and ideas that make up the song.
Time and time again when listening to Nix Northwest there is this feeling that this artist just, very purely, knows exactly what he’s doing in the most musically cunning and wholeheartedly inspirational way. And with the single ‘Problems’, it becomes almost problematically repeatable.