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Nisa: Shapeshifting

Thirty-two free minutes and an open mind is all you need when preparing to listen to Nisa’s new album, Shapeshifting. This album truly takes you through a dreamlike journey of consciousness as you hear her break the bounds of what music can be defined as and she shows that you can look to the past and the future in the same beat.

This 11-song album features a variety of mediums from electronic, rock, pop and indie—all within the first song. “Ready… Set!” sets up the listener’s expectations for what can be heard later throughout Shapeshifting. While Nisa has a beautiful voice and lyrics worth dissecting, what truly made this album stand out in a world of never-ending music is the actual instruments and mixing of the songs. Even the best singer-songwriters and musicians can have issues following through on the actual music that accompanies their voice, but Nisa has made it very clear that the mixing and instruments are the soul and foundation to be built upon.

The mixing was not only enjoyable and intricate, but it also helped complete the narrative she was hoping to have listeners experience. She made me feel like I was stepping directly into her dreams with her on “Dreamspeak” and “Trance Form” and experiencing the feeling of being drunk on the dance floor and time moving effortlessly slowly on “Dance Alone.”

Nisa does a great job of keeping the album unpredictable and not falling into typical “song” form, keeping the music enhanced, the beats different and the feeling dynamic. She also does not only convey these through the music and production of the songs, but also through her voice. It was easy to feel the emotion or understand the softness or roundness of her voice when singing, but also knowing when to give it an UMPH when she needed to.

Shapeshifting was a journey that kept me intrigued and thoroughly digesting every song. Even the more traditional ballads on the track list like “Vertigo” and “Sea Glass” still had twists that I didn’t expect to hear. I cannot recommend enough taking those 32 minutes to sit in your comfy spot, close your eyes and take this journey with Nisa. And just like she says in the end, I will ask the same: so, “Are you listening?”

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