Israel Nash Gripka at Rough Trade West
Tucked away in the streets around Portobello market, kicking off as all the shops are shutting up, is the massive voice of Israel Nash Gripka. Rough Trade West is packed with people and music ephemera plastering the walls, and the singer’s bellowed tones and strummed guitar boom through the tiny record store, cascading through everyone’s heart chakra and straight into their soul. Even passers-by are held captivated around the entrance.
With the lore of Midwest, times-gone-by nostalgia, Gripka revolves around the simpler things in life, sculpting emotional landscapes over intrapersonal relationships, the cross section often cutting deep valleys or soaring mountains. With memories as a guide, he agonises over the delicate interaction between people, and the immeasurable force of a moment in time is leaked out in song. With a solid handling on the valve, he artfully navigates the extremes of vocal capacity; playing back and forth between maximum and void, his voice doesn’t break once.
Collapsing inward from a metaphorical structure, he deeply explores the topic, refining it as truth, and relinquishing it from past ignorance. The music diffracts outwards in iterations of the importance of each moment, counterbalanced and mirrored by regular guitar with simple progression, and a tendency to flip out into a skilful and subtly balanced break from the pattern.
His personality shines between songs, and never misses a beat. His aviators are the only screen between a casual encounter-round-a-campfire atmosphere and deep punctures into his psyche and soul, expelled in raw but measured form.
His style seems to be reflected in the fact that he is a man between city and country: the heaviness strains against the rhythm, perpetually threatening to fall behind. His music has developed from earlier years into a more deeply introspective winding-down and warming-up.
Israel Nash Gripka is one to watch as his work trend is increasing. He announces to cheers for a second encore that he’ll be back in two weeks.
For further information and future events visit Israel Nash Gripka’s website here.
Watch the video for Drown here: