Album of the Day: Tony Njoku, “YOUR PSYCHE’S RAINBOW PANORAMA”

Tony Njoku found the inspiration for his third studio album, YOUR PSYCHE’S RAINBOW PANORAMA, while checking out the work of Icelandic installation artist Olafur Eliasson. The Lagos-born, London-based Njoku embraced the title of Eliasson’s 2010 exhibition Feelings Are Facts as a mantra for the way he wanted to write the record: Instead of telling a broad story across its 14 tracks, each song is an individual performance piece spotlighting a different emotion, which Njoku expresses via remarkable digitally-manipulated vocals and kaleidoscopic electronic production.

“NAIVE & APPREHENSIVE” opens the album in dramatic fashion, with live drums quickly overtaken by marauding sub-bass and escalating stabs of synths; the track peaks with a heightened mid-section that comes across like a vibrant electronica update of traditional Afrobeat. Njoku proceeds to showcase similarly daring compositional skills across the rest of the album: “FURIOUS” splatters video game lasers against a backdrop of violent grinding synths; the hyper glitchy vocals on “DISCONNECTED” signal a sense of emotional displacement; and “GLORIOUS” features Njoku’s striking falsetto against a stripped-down choral backdrop that balances the project’s more abrasive electro moments. 

YOUR PSYCHE’S RAINBOW PANORAMA is an intense and tumultuous experience—but Njoku’s songwriting is nuanced enough to let the project settle on a redemptive note. On closing song “NOSTALGIC & APPRECIATIVE,” Njoku is backed by gentle guitar. He breaks into a tremor to sing about living in a “magic castle” where angels help guard “feelings burning in my everlasting soul.” It brings about a tranquil feeling of calm after the wild storm of emotions that have come before.

Phillip Mlynar

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