Bruise Blood is a reference to Steve Reich’s 1960’s composition Come Out. Reich’s medium is a tape-loop based on the spoken words of Daniel Hamm, a young man from Harlem wrongly accused and convicted of murder. After police ofﬁcers tried to brutally beat a confession out of him, Hamm made a desperate attempt to show his need for immediate medical treatment – “I had to, like, open the bruise up, and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them.”
Come out to show them, come out to show them...
These echoing words strongly reverberate today. America is hurting inside. Years of division, ignored pain, and struggle have been festering and clotting under the skin. Nori’s Bruise Blood is an album determined to cut that wound wide open to let the blood out.
The album opens with The Dream, a song that introduces a contemplative tone with a stately three-note motif and slowly devolves into a chaotic roar of unresolved doubt. Wildﬁre is about an arsonist setting blaze to our future and reveling in the “ﬂames of hate”. When the smoke clears, a fearful mother ponders the world she has brought her child into in the introspective Crash and Burn. Motherhood is further explored in Undertow, a song that ﬂows with a sweeping string arrangement and unpredictable rhythm. Side A ends with The Walk. It is a protest song written from a woman’s perspective. The lyrics are vivid. The march-like cadence is strong and deliberate. Side B begins with Bruise Blood, a collection of three songs – Sell My Soul gives insight into the cult of personality of a corrupt political leader. The free-jazz stylings of The Star-Spangled Banner provide context for a bruised and divided nation. The lyrics come from an unofﬁcial ﬁfth verse written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. during the American Civil War. The three-song collection concludes with Amends, a song in search of a way to stop the bleeding. The album closes with Decay (in two movements). Prelude is a dark and mysterious ﬁrst movement arranged for string trio. Ballad, the second movement and ﬁnal song of the album, leaves us wounded, “‘cause you can’t see the part of me that’s you.”