ABOVE: HORRIBLE PRESENT. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANK DELEON-JONES
There is nothing horrible at all about Horrible Present, the musical nom de plume of Brooklyn recording artist and one-man band Nicola Dona. A native Italian (“People here think I’m Argentinian, French, Dutch, Brazilian, Swedish, Israeli or Russian. Venice is never even a guess.”), Dona has spent the past two years living in Brooklyn and slowly perfecting his own wily style of music, which falls somewhere between classic doo-wop and loopy psychedelia.
The songs on Intuition—Horrible Present’s just-released full-length debut—manage the rare trick of sounding both vaguely old-fashioned and weirdly futuristic, the music shimmering and looping around Dona’s warmly romantic vocals. “Intuition is a collection of songs I recorded and mixed entirely in my room in Brooklyn,” explains Dona. “My buddy Frank made the artwork. My friend Sammy made the video. Nicole’s shadow sent me good vibes. It’s like a family picture. It’s warm. And framed.” Though he counts Syd Barrett, Sanford Clark, and books by Buckminster Fuller as inspirations, for Dona the joys of Horrible Present mostly seem to involve spreading good vibes—something the swooning Intuition does pretty effortlessly. “I’m very positive,” says Dona, “The Future is gonna be glorious. And repetitive. And trippy. And we will only drink mescal. And we will always dream. It’s endless.”