Terence Etc., “Vortex”
By Nicolas-Tyrell Scott · August 24, 2022 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP

Multi-hyphenate Terence Nance has racked up an impressive resume as a producer, writer, and director with credits that include the HBO series Random Acts of Flyness (2018– ) and his debut feature film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012). Now, under the moniker Terence Etc., he adds “solo artist” to that list. His debut album Vortex tackles themes of self-love and romance, backed by expansive instrumentals.

On Vortex, Nance collaborates with friends and family including Nick Hakim, serpentwithfeet, Brandee Younger, and his brother Nelson “Bandela” Nance. He’s described the album as a “sonic tool that I made so that I can play it for myself and balance my energy between masculine and feminine.” But there is also a sense of foreboding on Vortex, as the narrator delves into themes of love and regret.

“In Contemplation of Clair’s Scent,” Nance’s ode to Black love, is decorated with an array of trumpets, chimes, and keyboards. A jazzy concoction, the song’s hypnotic keyboards carry Nance’s invitation to acknowledge the beauty in Black people and cultural practices: “But only if you think it’s a good thing,” he sings. On “Infinince of Infinity?” Nance is still committed to jazz—a more subdued brand this time—as he questions his love interest’s commitment, asking if they dream of him. The song has a deft vulnerability, a quality that serves as a connecting strand throughout the album. On “The Merchant Of Flatbush” Nance embraces a rock-ier take on jazz—bass and drums speeding up to a crescendo as Nance boasts, “I smell like a million bucks.”

Throughout Vortex, Nance explores love, fear, and intimacy over pulsing orchestral arrangements. It takes listeners deep into the narrator’s psyche, never clear whether it’s a dream or a nightmare. That playful ambiguity is the heart of Vortex.

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