The latest release from Mischa Lively, entitled More, is a collection of long-form, experimental dance compositions with surprising instrument choices, diverse percussion and slow burn tempos. It’s also a gateway into a Nashville music scene I’m wholly unfamiliar with.
Artists Stacian, JNN, Charlie Conway, Oliver Dodd and Tan are among those in town fostering a scene for electronic music that is decidedly dance-y but willing to integrate numerous styles and influences to create something altogether new.
Lively’s More is a great example of this. The shortest track is just over five minutes, the longest nearly eight, giving each undertaking plenty of time to slowly unfurl. It’s not immediately obvious that these tracks would be the best fit for a night out dancing but if left to mature, they blossom into an embraceable groove. The choices in percussive instruments throughout the release are atypical of the stereotypical “dance” music perception, best exemplified in the flurry of taps and swooshes in the title track “More.”
The fascinating overlapping of styles – sometimes outright dance, other times ambient and occasionally downright experimental – is a smooth integration of the disparate pieces. More is exactly what it is titled to be, More than just dance music. As I dig deeper into the offerings from other artists within the scene, this seems to be a consistent through-line. Nashville may not be known as a hotbed of progressive dance music but there’s clearly some wonderfully diverse creations waiting to be unearthed.
One last note, 10% of every sale of the Mischa Lively record goes to the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization that works to combat mass incarceration, racial injustice, and the for-profit prison system. This has no bearing on the music but it’s a commendable undertaking to stand behind. So go pick that up.