Thursdays With J.R. – Markus Nikolaus

Thursdays with J.R. is our new weekly column from lifelong musician and lifelong-er music fan J.R. McIntire, drummer of Arctic Char and multi-instrumentalist on more projects than we have bandwidth to list.

This week I had the pleasure of spinning “Bicycle Day” by Markus Nikolaus.  I usually don’t recommend watching the accompanying music video but for this one it really makes sense.  The imagery mixed with the sonic cuts and changes really makes the song hit.  We open with imagery of a piano being hit with a sledgehammer once it connects, the song begins.  Lo-fi at first, I almost thought the drums were sampled.  The way the guitar plays with the sonic space makes the snare shine in a way only an acoustic snare can.  Vocals washed with filters and reverb make for a calming first verse.  We join Markus and his drummer in a dark warehouse like basement.  It fits the song perfectly.  When the sparse piano brings us into the next stanza, we get the gratifying shots of the piano being destroyed by said sledgehammer.  I really enjoy the effects on the guitar in this song.  They are brash and gritty but warm and mixed in perfectly.  Markus slowly crescendos with the lyrics “why wont you see me?” as we are gifted the imagery of him behind said piano which is now on fire.  Something about the keys getting destroyed and lit on fire really resonated with me.  It truly juxtaposes the smooth nature of the song by matching the lyrical emotions.  The bridge brings us sonically back to the crescendo, but it never becomes too brash to overwhelm.  You get to the full climax of the song without tiring out.  I know I say this a lot but give this one a few spins to get the full experience as it comes on smooth but so quick you don’t realize the song has ended and you are ready for more.  I quickly added this artist and tune to my favorite playlist and cant wait to hear more.  I’m not sure what Markus went through to evoke such a tune but I can say beware all pianos, you are not safe here.

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