One immediate descriptor of the first tune off of producer Nosaj Thing’s first LP in two years is that it’s “atmospheric.” And that’s certainly fair. There’s an unmistakable feeling and mood of “All Points Back to You” that you pick up on as soon as you engage with it. The tune from Cudi/Kendrick/Chance collaborator is somber and slightly dour, it’s a wearied recognition that certain figures in your life are inescapable. No matter how hard you try, your thoughts will inevitably cycle back to them.
But calling it “atmospheric” is slightly inaccurate because that doesn’t get at how close and intimate this song is. These are some deeply personal thoughts we’re privy to. There’s a shorthand for the xx that their best work sounds like private conversations taken public and that’s true of “All Points Back to You” as well. None of what Steve Spacek is singing over the steady percussion and synth warbles feels like something we as an audience should be hearing. At one point he lets out an unadorned “ahh” and it’s perhaps the most gutting moment on the song. We tend to think of atmospheric tracks as a bit clouded and veiled in mystery but what’s going on couldn’t be any clearer here.
[Nosaj Thing’s new album Parallels is out Sept. 8 on Innovative Leisure.]