Paulina Lasa’s identity is constantly evolving. Although the Mexican multi-disciplinary artist is a tempered and well-known songwriter and composer in her scene, her ability to collaborate with all types of projects has allowed her to spread out and explore new territories. “If someone tries to find a common thread in my profile as an artist, they would have to look closely at my trajectory,” she tells Remezcla in an interview. She may appear unfocused, but her praxis is a lot more about inner exploration and following her instincts.
When asked to provide music for Mexican artist José Jiménez Ortiz’s exhibition “Sinfonía para 100 motocicletas: un ensayo de antropología simétrica,” she quickly shifted gears to focus on it. “I have known José since my days as a visual artist; he wanted to include my music pressed in vinyl as an object-piece and I jumped at the chance.” The exhibition was created by Jiménez during a residency in Colombia, in which he discovered a correlation between the use of motorcycles as recruitment incentives for hitmen during Escobar’s cartel. The piece explores themes of slavery and poverty, so Lasa used that as inspiration for her own musical pieces.
Even though the test pressing was physically played during the exhibition’s showing, the actual pressing was delayed for release. Between timing issues and a delay due to the recent earthquake in Mexico, Lasa’s work will finally be available under her moniker Nima Ikki on 7” vinyl. Skeletons Hidden in the Closet will be co-released by her label Ensamble and Discos Mono.
For Lasa, Nima Ikki is not so much an evolution of sound and musical taste from her previous projects (Haciendo el Mal, Pau y Amigos), but more a meditation on how she relates to the process of her music making. “In the past, I had worked with producers, and although I had a say in how things sounded, I did not have full control over the production.” In simple terms, she finally managed to put together a small studio and learned how to produce and record herself. This new relationship to her music is also what prompted her to question genre, format, and sound design. It’s these nuances in her person that define how she operates.
The title track for the album “Skeletons Hidden in the Closet” is surprisingly melodic for Nima Ikki; you can tell she allowed herself some freedom as it was a commissioned piece. “I like that it’s a pop song that sort of gets enveloped by drone.” It’s possible that it’s in these collaborative moments that she finds new avenues to explore.
Meanwhile, the B-side “I Think I Can Control the Noise” is a tapestry of unstructured soundscapes and spoken word performances taken from some of the interviews completed during the research phase of the exhibition. In its digital format, the album will also include four remixes from artists like Turning Torso, Me & Myself, and Fonobisa.
This project not only reflects the multi-faceted nature of its creator, but also the ways that artists in burgeoning independent scenes engage with their art and its audience.
Nima Ikki’s Skeletons Hidden in the Closet is out now on Ensamble and Discos Mono.