A blurred image of NikNak

NikNak’s ‘Inner Ireti’ – Including Installation Launch

Date/Time: 23 - 28 May 2024

Price: Free

Gallery: Tues - Sat: 10am - 5pm / Sun: 11am - 3pm
Tiled Hall Cafe: Tues - Sat: 10am - 5pm / Sun: 11am - 3pm
Shop: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm / Sun: 11am - 3pm

Commissioned by Leeds Jazz Festival, NikNak presents ‘Inner Ireti’ – an exclusive audio visual installation at Leeds Art Gallery that merges jazz with electronic & experimental music. The installation will be launched at a lunchtime talk from 1pm – 2pm on Thursday 23rd May, with the first listen of the work commencing after the launch. It will be free to attend and can be experienced at your own pace.

At the commission launch, NikNak will perform a live DJ set digging into the musical inspirations behind the work, as well as some of the collaborators featuring on the album. You will also be able to hear more about the creative process behind the project.

In addition to the spacialised audio, there will be visuals including the music videos for ‘More Life’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’.

A trailblazing musical polymath, NikNak has carved a niche for herself in the music industry with her distinctive turntablism, immersive compositions, and captivating improvised performances. Heralded by the likes of DJ Mag, Clash, The Wire and Resident Advisor, her debut album Bashi garnered critical acclaim, positioning her as one to watch in the experimental electronic music scene. Now she is preparing to release Ireti, her fourth studio album released on May 21st via Accidental Records.

Embracing her identity as a self-proclaimed nerd and advocate for diversity, NikNak’s forthcoming album, delves into Afrofuturism and explores the intersection of humanity and technology. Inspired by iconic films and video games like ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Cyberpunk 2077,’ the album follows a dystopian narrative, centred around the journey of reclaiming humanity from the grasp of machines.

“I found myself making the tracks somewhat relentlessly around the same time that my partner was playing the ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ game and kept seeing more synchronicities with films like ‘Blade Runner’,” explains NikNak.  “I found myself wondering why there isn’t a ‘Blade Runner’ style film told from a black perspective? Something that’s on the same scale as Black Panther, but more of a detective noir film?” she continues. “If there was a black Blade Runner, this would be the soundtrack.”

The album features collaborations with esteemed artists Agaama, Cassie Kinoshi, Chisara Agor, Grifton Forbes-Amos and SlowPitchSound, enhancing its rich and diverse sonic landscape. “I’ve known Grifton and Cassie for a number of years now and have always admired how they use the trumpet and sax in their own music. Grifton recorded his parts remotely and I was stunned with what he came up with in response to the track, I think he really gave it extra life with his melodies. And when I played this to Cassie, she was eager to jump on and respond to Grifton’s hornline. It all came together really naturally and I’m so grateful to have learned from such amazing musicians here and throughout the album,” says NikNak.

Through a fusion of turntablism, experimental synthesis, haunting vocals, and dynamic electronic elements, NikNak crafts a cinematic experience that traverses genres like jazz, jungle, experimental and trip-hop. This installation in the Central Court of Leeds Art gallery will offer audiences the space to experience the work in a new light, with a bespoke, spatialised adaptation of the music for the space.

The music takes the listener through a bleak cyberpunk dystopia to a hopeful resolution where humanity finds harmony with technology. Ireti is a bold statement of artistic vision Through her innovative approach to storytelling and genre-blending soundscapes, NikNak continues to push the boundaries of electronic music while championing diversity and authenticity in the industry.

This project is made possible with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The full Leeds Jazz Festival 2024 programme is announced now, spanning gigs, workshops, panels and the Welcome to Leeds stage. Full details are available through the Leeds Jazz Festival website. Follow @leedsjazzfest on social media, for the latest updates and announcements as the programme develops.

Leeds Jazz Festival is produced by a city-wide network of partners, representing venues, programmers, musicians and more. Coordinated by Music:Leeds and made possible with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Leeds Jazz Festival is supported by Split Design, arts@leeds, Leeds City Council, LeedsBID and Welcome to Leeds. We look forward to welcoming you back to Leeds this May for some fantastic events in the second city of jazz in the UK.

For more information contact:

Ash Doherty – ash@leedsjazzfestival.com

Sam Nicholls – [email protected]


Follow Leeds Jazz Festival:

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