“It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she too felt the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only the melody was real.” — Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time
“The relationship reminded me of a melody: abstract and intangible, irrational and illogical… We were enchanted with each other in a dream state.” Candidly, Nicole Turley describes the foundation of her newest and most revelatory album as Swahili Blonde, "And Only the Melody Was Real".
Founded as Turley’s solo project in 2009, Swahili Blonde has always involved a varied and multi-talented collective of musical contributors across its releases—including members of Duran Duran, RHCP, The Slits, DEVO, and many more LA scene staples. The 2015 EP release "Deities in Decline" found her once again self-producing and engineering in her Los Angeles studio. Performing everything herself (alongside the strings of Laena Geronimo) resulted in Deities’ uniquely examining electronic triumph.
"And Only the Melody Was Real" is Turley’s next chronicle in an intensely personal and powerful self-study of a breakup; capturing the universality of those painful, and eventually illuminating, experiences. “I feel more my authentic self now than ever before,” she acknowledges. “I have reached a point of balance. I have grown up. And I feel grateful and appreciative for every thing that has lead up to this moment.”
Turley confesses this was a difficult record to make, bringing in close friend Jennifer P Fraser to co-write the album with her. But she also embraces things gained from the experience, describing wide-ranging thoughts and emotions at play— “from a harsh darkness, felt deeply when disconnected from yourself; to saying ‘I love you’ right before surrendering defeat; to having the strength and optimism to move forward.” “On The Other Side” combines a dance beat with insightful melodic ruminations, while “Saturn Farewell” features Turley’s vocals oscillating in a dramatic, silvery offering of a last goodbye. The album’s final track “Vous Enchanter Mon Coeur” is a fitting end— a captivating, string-laden electronic ode to the undeniable force of the ones we love upon us. But it’s also a testament to the truth that it’s ourselves who hold the most power above all: “This album is a metamorphosis, and will always be close to my heart”, she says.
And now this is her in full bloom.
Written by Breanna Murphy
released January 22, 2016
Written by Nicole Turley in Savannah GA and with Jennifer P Fraser in Manhattan NY, 2015
All music and vocals performed by Nicole Turley
Backing vocals performed by Jennifer P Fraser
Recorded by Nicole in Savannah, Manhattan, and Los Angeles, 2015
Mixed and mastered by Nicole in Brooklyn NY, 2015
Cover photograph and design by Nicole Turley
all rights reserved