Robert Nix, a self-styled composer and musician from Toronto, Ontario Canada has just released his fifth album, entitled Once In a Blue Moon. It seems Nix’s unique music could be classified as progressive, he rather labels it as a new wave/dark wave crossover, naming some of his influences as Joy Division, Bauhaus and Gary Numan. The first single off Once In a Blue Moon, “Won’t Go With the Flow,” now has a video on YouTube, and is as confusing as Nix’s.
In “Don’t Go With the Flow,” listeners will find a definite nod to dark wave, largely because of Nix’s voice. It does in many ways mimic Joy Division’s Ian Curtis or Bauhaus’s Kevin Murphy, but he seems so inject a bit of classical training into the vocals. This is tricky, because Curtis and Murphy’s voices are so monotonous and monochromatic that there is little room for vibrato or drawn-out diaphragm work. The heavy minor key in guitar and production on this track are also geared towards dark wave or post punk, but it’s clear in the production and synths that Nix doesn’t quite have it down. The echo effects are a bit off, and once again the addition of the classical piano over all of this 80s-style darkness really clangs as a different and sometimes clashing element.
The video, also pretty low-budget, shows Nix in different vistas trying to look pensive but he only really succeeds in looking like Tom Green trying to do an impression of Thurston Moore. Here there really are not and elements of dark wave or new wave save the shots of NIx with a handheld keyboard, a’la Flock of Seagulls. It’s not really progressive either, however, because those videos tend to be more theatrical. The video comes away looking more like a Phish of Grateful Dead concert shot by a fan and containing only one member.
Even if Robert Nix identifies more with progressive music than dark wave or post punk, the production values on “Won’t Go With the Flow” and, indeed, Once In a Blue Moon as a whole, leave much to be desired. One would think after five albums Nix would have been able to fine-tune his production or even his style so that they weren’t so muddled. This begs the question: why is Nix choosing this odd conglomerate of styles? He may have his reasons, but they are unclear on “Won’t Go With the Flow.” Once in a Blue Moon is available on itunes or CD Baby to stream or purchase along with his entire discography and “Don’t Go With the Flow” can be streamed on Robert Nix’s Soundcloud and YouTube channels.