ABOVE: NICKY MAO OF HIRO KONE. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALBERT HERTER
Hiro Kone is prepared to get philosophical. Started by Nicky Mao (formerly of experimental outfits Effi Briest and Up Died Sound), the project mixes spectral pop, psychedelic undertones, and lush production courtesy of former Gang Gang Dance member Tim Dewit. “Phantom,” the gorgeous new single from the project’s upcoming second album, The Unmoved Mover, does a great job presenting Hiro Kone’s shifting facets and dynamic production. While the song begins in witchy trip-hop-mode, it soon unfurls, upping its tempo and with a jungle-leaning beat before settling back to earth amidst a sea of analog synths.
The song’s fluid arrangement is a common theme on the EP, which Mao sees as evolution of her past work. “The Unmoved Mover is in a sense an extension of my previous self-titled EP, both which we co-produced with Tim Dewit,” says Mao. “A lot of the same themes reappear and the dialogue I’m having with myself, the music, and the listener, gets a little deeper.”
For those who remember Intro to Philosophy, the notion of an unmoved mover should sound familiar—it’s Aristotle’s concept of an initial cause for all action in the universe. “I don’t really approach the world according to oppositions, or what some would call black and white,” Mao explains. “To me, there’s presence in absence and silence can be piercing. I really enjoy things for their authenticity, and furthermore, really enjoy that which exists outside of language. I’m always tuned to music or art that touches on that. Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, and Diamanda Galas, to name a few.” Looks like it’s time to brush up on our poststructuralism—or, better yet, invest in some better headphones.