Nouveau Noir CD Cover

A Review of Nouveau Noir EP by Damian Wilde

By Kevin Tshiamala

Along with reviews, interviews and other journalistic pursuits, the past few months I had also been working on a creative piece modeled after the short story collection by the late great J.D. Salinger. Since we are on a need to know basis, the creative piece was inclusive of Portishead, Radiohead, Bjork and other artists who fell into that minimalist, melancholy, multi-genre tempo heavy music. What you seek you will find remains to be a constant theme in life and The Secret could never be truer. Amongst those artists involuntarily included in my creative pursuits, I have now added the work of Damian Wilde and his Nouveau Noir EP. 

Damian was raised by a supportive but constantly working single mother in Belhar just outside Cape Town in a home filled with schizophrenics and manic-depressives whom his mother cared for. “My mother was a nurse at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital and she used to care for those who were on their way back to the ‘real world’ and had trouble adjusting. They became my carers and my friends,” says Damian. He started writing poetry at 10, music became his outlet at 16 and by 19 he was in a band. Now at 21 he continues to develop his ability to articulate his emotions and reflect on his challenges through music. After two years of writing and performing as part of the pSy-hOp band The Red Underground, he decided to work on a solo project, he uses music to make sense of his feelings and reflect on what he describes as the “fucked up” state of being human.

Nouveau Noir EP starts off with “The Umbrella Co,” which has a heavy downbeat, piano single chord progression intro with powerful lyrics and echoed vocals. Like most early in their careers, Damian writes and sings about what he knows best, his struggles in the industry, his wants, needs and emotions. “The Umbrella Co” minimalist in nature starts off the album in good fashion, drawing in the listener, preparing us for what is to come. A nice follow up is “Tempestuous.” On cue the lyrics are poignant, beat heavy, the guitar chord adds a minimal funk to the tune, and the hook is catchy as he sings, “I love the law, but I hate the cops, cause at 2 am all the music stops and they put my boy in the back of the van, I really think we need to escape from the man” – don’t we all. When seeing the song title “Green Mile,” you can’t help, but think about the movie and the sentiment of the song does the same. All unnecessary instruments are stripped away, and his abstract and minimalistic sound shines through so each individual sound can be absorbed and appreciated.

If I haven’t lost you yet, “Disco Shit” is the song I will be using for my creative project. Listen to the song while reading a short story. The emotions between both correlate and form an interesting perspective. Here’s a snippet, Peering out at the ocean over the bridge you can feel the calling. The vast emptiness yields as a promise to wash away your troubles. The cold blue water comforts your skin. You are floating, powerless, weightless, free… The short story collection is titled Tales of the Damned… “Disco Shit.”

“Alive” closes out the album in similar fashion of the rest. This is where the comparisons of The Weekend kick in, for the syncopated harmonies are clean and the minimal instrumentation evokes great emotion. Nouveau Noir EP is a talented piece of work by Damian Wilde and a relatable one. As he states, “My heart, it feels tainted and black. There are a lot of things that are wrong inside. When I make a record I try and scrape off pieces of it, smear it on a record and send it out there.”

Are you picking up what he’s putting down?

For more information please visit Damian Wilde’s official website:

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Damian Wilde 4