words Edward Harrington
Velvet Negroni is about as unique as they come. This might be due to the fact that most artists aren’t raised by evangelical missionaries that force their children into pushing their careers as classical pianists or professional ice skaters…
Both of these things are true of Jeremy Nutzman’s strange and wacky orphaned upbringing. And this strangeness and wackiness definitely reflects in his music.
Having just released his new album ‘Bulli,’ Velvet Negroni is pushing his own tailored musical style to the limits. This album in particular refines his grasp of progressive minimal Jazz with raw, heartfelt pop.
His songs are a frantic string of sore emotions and juxtaposed music genres. Chunky guitar and bass lines, probing synths and samples from all angles and roomy piano meld to create beautiful prismatic bubbles. Otherworldly, whilst at the same time as worldly as it gets, Velvet Negroni is approaching the world as a staunch outsider in a blur of past acquaintances, lingering resentment and current conflict. A voyager in a mirror-maze of muzzled and menacing emotions, sparking a surreal and raw sound.
The album is like a loophole timeline, delving in and out of Negroni’s experiences and mental states. The unexplained opening track ‘Pop Song 2’ throws you straight into the frenzy and gets you hungry from the get go, a short time later proceeded by ‘Pop Song 1,’ then ‘Sinker,’ in which he shares the details, “they call me Negroni, but also it’s Jerry,” hinting at an identity crisis or even dual personality… It becomes blatant that he is addressing his parents when he states, “I’m aware of the chances you gave me, that I didn’t take.” In the video he is doing some kind of clown-like pastiche of an ice skater in a skate park, whilst wielding a broom around.
Velvet Negroni’s music could almost be described as a tie dye of subculture stylings, take for example the second song, “Never Said Peep,” that has the freshness of a 90’s trance track but as if there is a 70’s disco ball strobing over it. The song stills you into Negroni’s world, and its off-balance, unsettled motion.
As the album goes on, it almost feels like you are in a space shuttle, everything outside turning to slo-mo, as Negroni touches on bizarre aspects of gloomy life… “Arizona’s new personas,” revisiting close affections in the song ‘Georgia.’
On ‘Bell Clapper,’ the music seems like strange shapes colliding into one another effortlessly. Here, Negroni has made extreme complexity sound so succinct, the constantly changing musical parts fluctuating together seamlessly. At times, Negroni’s music really is like listening to obscure paintings or abstract sculpture.
Velvet Negroni is unravelling the possibilities of music and pulling the very deepest parts of himself along with it. Funny and frightening and pointedly romantic. The second to last song ‘Animal’ perhaps sums up the album’s experience, “life in the day of an avatar, out of control like a passenger.” It feels like you have gone on a journey with Negroni, but he is still keeping something from you, leaving you perplexed in his maze of shameless examination.
The album is out now on 4AD