I don’t go on boats very often. There is something about the creaking waves and swaying floor that makes me sweat. Even when I get off the boat I can’t shake that swaying motion–I’ll close my eyes, try to fall asleep that night, and feel as though the bed is tilting in tune with an imaginary ocean beneath. Ethereal dream pop artist Nebno captures that whimsical, unsteady sensation perfectly in her new song “Eyote.” Listening to this experimental track will conjure images of vast, stirring seas. Ink-black water, churning whirlpools. You can picture the singer perched at the edge of a gleaming pirate ship, arms outstretched to a blazing gray sky, welcoming a storm as she sings.
You’re like the wind throwing me all around/Caught in the ocean out of control
“Eyote” opens with dark, brooding strings. The soundscape is bare, anxious, and cinematic, limited only to a growling hum and the singer’s clear, youthful vocals. Fittingly, the beginning of the song feels like a slow rising ocean, like a tide that grows upwards, vine-like. It is the calm before the storm, a dreadful welcome to something soft and strange and dangerous. An artificially lowered voice underpins the bright, centered vocals, heightening the sense of darkness and warning. This production choice seems to imply a shadow self, a perhaps nefarious version of the speaker that lingers beneath the identity that she presents to the world.
Then you’re a breeze I was hoping for all along, pushing me further holding me back then/I sail on, I sail alone
The song lingers in its minimalist sound until the first chorus, when the vocalist croons the title of the song, “eyote,” again and again. At this point, a restless beat drops in and shifts the song into a new sonic space, equally restless but more driven. Higher harmonies twist on top of the original and lowered vocals. Twitchy drums rustle over the strings, then crackling wooden sounds and insect-humming add to the atmosphere. There is something distinctly unsettling and mysterious about this section of the song; in my mind’s eye, I see the pirate ship breaking into a wall of fog, the wet air clinging to the speaker’s skin, strange shapes swirling in the shifting wind. Although “eyote” is not a word that can be found in many modern dictionaries, it is interestingly only one letter away from “peyote,” which is a hallucinogenic cactus plant used in spiritual ceremonies.
Where may our steps go?/Are we lost or are we found?
The song mimics and pays tribute to the ocean in both its lyric and production style. After the swell of energy in the first chorus, the song ebbs out again, much like the rise and fall of an ocean wave. Then, at the end of the song, the energy returns with gusto, using clattering beats, faint piano, and dark thrumming synths. Though the track is only four minutes long, it feels much longer as it takes the listener on an ethereal oceanic journey. “Eyote” lands somewhere between dream-pop and meditation music. At its core, the song is a visual and experimental ode to mystery.