Anushka Manchanda aka Kiss Nuka, a singer-producer-actors-activist from Mumbai came to prominence as a member of the Indipop girl group Viva! The 38-year-old artist has come a long way since then and now produces all types of music, not limiting herself to a genre. Her artistic name ‘Kiss Nuka’ stands for nature’s universal kinetic attention, with a vision for a better world.
Her free-spirited love for nature translates into thought-provoking pieces of electronic bass blended with ambient layers, electro-pop melodies, distorted vocals, drum and bass with the occasional hint of roots. She is also known for her photo essays that bring attention to subjects like the rise of the feminine, protection of the environment, and animal rights.
Fresh of her recent Ninja Tune and Ahead of our Time label release ‘I Love The Drive’, the artist released her debut EP ‘Serpentine,’ on the 25th of November. It is a homage to all “the ravers she danced with over the years.” The name of the EP is symbolic of her journey and evolution as an artist so far, shedding her skin and breaking free as an artist, a human being, and a voice without boundaries. The 6-track dance floor EP was produced entirely on headphones by the artist in Goa. It has her signature flips, vocal harmonies, and groovy lines across the board while blurring genres and spaces.
All the tracks in the EP are composed, produced and performed by Kiss Nuka while Audio Sol has mixed and mastered them. It has Gaya Tideman on the vocal production and additional vocals on the song “A Wilder Place.” The EP cover artwork credits go to Mayuresh Hendre, a passionate wildlife photographer. The text design is by Giorgio’s Kazakis.
The EP starts with a downtempo track called “A Wilder Place,” which has a tropical monsoon ambience filled with the sounds of birds and streams at the beginning. The warm piano progression asks you to find a wilder place inside yourself through smooth and sensual vocals. With the wooden frog percussion and Nuka’s classic harmonies, the song speaks of man’s connection with nature, thus setting the tone for the EP.
“Serpentine,” the second track of the EP, continues with the natural ambience intro. This is followed by a heavy bass that you can drown in. The track that celebrates nature in all its glory has a psychedelic mood to it. The 70s snare with the sound of the rain is an ode to the dance of the serpent.
“Trouble In Paradise,” the next track of “Serpentine,” has got to be one of the most interesting tracks on the EP. A track built around a voice note left by the vocal producer Gaya left to Kiss Nuka, it makes a biblical reference to the story of Adam, Eve, the serpent and the apple. Nuka brings about a different take to the story through the track and breaks the myth that says Eve and the serpent are the villains. She instead sees them as bearers of truth who break the illusion of Adam and their descendants. The track also transports you to Goa with the compression.
“Viper” is yet another powerful track that talks about the essence of the feminine through the viper – a snake that can be healing and painful. It starts with the sound of something being crushed like a viper would do if you come along its way. It has glimpses of drum and bass and talks about breaking boundaries.
The sixth track “grounding” is still pacy like the previous track “Speaking in Tongues,” but has a grounding effect. A track that has sounds of heartbeats and celestial sounds, it was added by Nuka to restore balance after the fifth track which is quite intense.
“Serpentine” in its entirety, therefore, brings out the essence of Goa with its tropical monsoon elements and the dance-y vibe. It is an experience that is quite intense. You will surely carry a lingering feeling after listening to the EP.
Kiss Nuka is going to perform the EP live across the country starting with Bass Camp and Magnetic Fields Festival. Go catch the artist working her magic live!