The exhaustion of not knowing anything about NU the person is tiring and very hard on the nerves. Every hour spent searching on line for a bit of information to no avail gets you weaker. Upon failure growing with each step so miserable, you catch yourself thinking how dismal, how heavy it is to listen to NU’s mix and another one and more to come – the whole sequence looped to never end the indulgence – and to know virtually nothing of the individual behind his music.
“I cannot claim I know him. Bit his music makes me travel many places ...”
That’s about all (due to, perhaps, some covert intrigue aimed at defending the person against his devotees) you can possibly collect in the public domain, summarized: Peruvian Berliner (or can it be that he has fallen from heaven?), NU is as diverse in his tastes as the world itself, which he, a true nomad and explorer preparing the way for others, has been wandering all over in search of visions taking influences from things as insipid as sand and dichotomies as grandiose as life and death, with everything in between. His music is not a shell in which he is taking refuge. It’s the necessary result of his very intimate and open-end experiences.
In the words of Sufi poet Rumi voiced into NU's confessional sketch "Earth", he is neither natural, nor ethereal. Not an entity in this world or the next one. Neither body nor soul, his place is placeless. He does not exist.
Starved of facts and gossip*, expounding on the topic further is a reckless epistemological stunt. We submit the issue as a query to our emerging community – with NU’s mugshot attached. Missing Person. Or rather: Most Wanted!
“NU was playing pillow fight with himself at the top of Mount Everest. An old man saw him and said: “You are the light of my life. Before I met you, I walked in the dark.” — Random Gossip Generator
“He is hot whoever he is.“ Other responses are more familial and revealing: “First time I met NU, he was coming out of the jungle accompanied by his friends. They asked if he could play at the restaurant where I used to work. Yes. There NU unleashed his euphonic powers to become a sort of guru to all screwballs in Tulum (me included) – the clique which then has multiplied exponentially to subsume all bystanders and most earnest abstainers in the area.”
The reference here may well be to Gitano, a gypset outpost in the seaside jungle where they like it SLOW*, which may also explain why the reported expansionism of NU’s influence is not exactly an instant blast. But more likely the reason is something else: NU’s music as well as the pieces of his choice for the sets demand a more active and concentrated participation from the audience – in contrast to the most forms played in the clubs, which invite no contemplation and a lot of muscular docility. It does not hail the kind of listening which always knows what comes next. It requires acute attention to and extra perception of the unique and specific.
Although his music, depending on the sound system, may sometimes play deflated in groove, elusive in beat, lacking in melody, the chances are that it sounds so uncertain and impassive only to an impatient ear. Or untrained. But then there is a more-than-sterling tuition by John Cage saying if one finds music boring for two minutes, he should do it for four. If it's boring for four, eight should do it – and so on.
Sometimes it is precisely because of its seriousness (the religious propositions of Feathered Sun, which NU is now inextricably linked with, being the case in point), because of its intercultural integrity and metaphysical weight that NU’s music may arouse resentment. In a paradoxical fashion, the more it carries and tries to deliver, the less it offers to some listeners. “Although I am foreign to all its supernatural artifice; his music offers me an experience of almost physical immersion.”
The suggestion that “NU is diverse in his musical styles”, as postulated by his booking agent, bears the risk of missing the whole point. Probing into this playlist multiplicity, one may just as easily conclude that he – in the footsteps of Schoenberg in Adorno’s essay conceptually immixed into this narrative – rejects the notion of style altogether, as a category oriented largely on external consensus, dropping it in favor of the idea, the pure elaboration of his musical thoughts. Style is a mere derivative of this inner generative structure concerned with the What, not so much with the How.
Just as NU’s exploratory music proves to be an elusive mix of primordial familiarity and far-out incongruity – in a word, universal – as a person he reveals himself in a similar dialectical manner, both a kin and a stranger. “Cannot tell. It’s in Berlin where we must have met. Whenever I see him – not very often – I have this feeling I have known NU forever.”
“I can’t quite recall how we met. I remember I was listening to these few tracks a lot. Strictly speaking, not even by choice. I was intrigued by how they would just be there whenever I wanted to play some music. They happened to be his tracks... Which at some point somehow led me to knowing their author, without realization who he was.”
NU is untraceable. Cannot pin the ghost down in the biographical continuum, but his fingerprints left at Bar25/KaterHolzig/KaterBlau, the Berlin legendary riverside venue of recycled wood and reclaimed furniture, which mysteriously sustains itself through perpetual chaotic reinvention, are ubiquitous and indelible. SaSoMo, which denotes a stretch of uninterrupted time from Saturday to Monday, is a booking agency next door. Its page discloses the identities of those most likely responsible for whatever transpires and has ever transpired on the aforesaid adjunct premises – often not the most orderly and wholesome activities, but nevertheless (or because of that) so incontrovertibly exciting and, well, liberating, provided one is reasonably equipped and can handle his or her own freedom. NU is one of them, “the living stones” – a dozen of resident DJs, including Britta Arnold, Sven Dohse and Jake The Rapper, upon whose enormous talents, expansive imagination, standing power and much of personal charisma this sonic church has been founded and thriving, a place globally known for its explosive irrevocable impact on techno culture around the world and, as in NU’s case, beyond.
“He is hard to know – an introvert with music being his obsession and ultimate expression. In a group of friends having drinks and fun... You move to chat with him – he is already behind the decks. And this may take the rest of the day. And some of the following.”