A communal collaboration between 14 different artists, Mutualism was created as a collective response to humanity’s relationship to the natural world.

The product of an iterative process of communal collaboration, Mutualism was developed over lockdown in 2020 by electronic drone choir NYX, spoken word and sound artist MA.MOYO, aka Belinda Zhawi, and visual artist Nick Cobby. Described by NYX as “a metamorphic meditation, embodying our relationship with nature, symbiosis transformation and collective consciousness”, the 11-minute audiovisual work emerged from what the choir term ‘symbiotic working,’ intended to generate “a true sense of connection, expression and interdependence.” Unfolding from the image of a match being struck deep within a mass of dense and twisted foliage, Mutualism is slow, introspective trip through the leaves, stones and earth of the natural world, a call and response between the modulated vocal tones, live electronics and instrumental arrangements of NYX, the lysergic visuals of Nick Cobby and the incantatory performance of MA.MOYO.

NYX
NYX

“Moving slowly together, each phase of development returned a collective of 14 artists to creatively respond to each new iteration, an evolving relationship that became more than the sum of its parts,” explains NYX. Originally devised as 360-degree projection, the above presentation sees the work condensed into a single channel. Revealing itself slowly, Mutualism takes on the resonance of an esoteric ceremony, with NYX’s redefinition of choral music at once gesturing towards devotional forms while shedding light on the potential for new forms of communal performance and practice. By the time the piece bursts into fractals, heralding a stunning, textural polyphony of voice both sung and spoken, it is clear that, through the collective’s process of symbiotic working, Mutualism is a meditation that envelops both artist and audience in service of a truly interdependent experience.

NYX
NYX

It’s an urge that is reflected in Zhawi’s words, which continually return to a central mantra: “meet me in the middle.” Invoking fire, air, earth and water, MA.MOYO relates natural elements to her own physical senses, situating her body within a shared space and aligning herself to the world around her. “My freedom / Is your freedom,” she asserts. “For that is the only way to live.”

‘Mutualism’ is out now, on the NYX Bandcamp. The choir have enlisted Anna Wall, Deena Abdelwahed and LCY for Mutualism Remixed, which is also available now on the NYX Bandcamp.

You can find MA.MOYO on Instagram. For more information about Nick Cobby and his work you can visit his website. For more information about NYX and their projects, visit their website and follow them on Instagram.

Mutualism Lyrics:

Meet me in the middle
Says the fire
My freedom is your freedom
Yours is mine
Freedom
The grey matter in between
Is ours to share
But you hold the bow
and I the arrow
Its tip in my chest
You’re pulling away
I’m letting go
Will you meet me in the middle

Meet me in the middle
Says the air
Lying on my back, suspended
With nothing but air beneath me
With nothing but space beneath me
With nothing but time beneath me
And the end
Is the middle

Meet me in the middle
Says the earth
You nourish me
with your songs
Funny, and sad
Your words hold me
Anchored
Dug into the soil
I live by your means
By your cycles

For that is the only way to live

Meet me in the middle
Says the water
Your dilated eyes
watch the clouds gather
Meet me in the middle
Is the hour before dusk
The creek high
Reflecting low sky

My freedom
Is your freedom
Is mine
Is yours
Is my freedom
Is your freedom

Mutualism Credits:

Composer and Producer – Sian O’Gorman
Words – MA.MOYO
Contributing Vocalists – Adélaïde Pratoussy, Cecilia Forssberg, Kelechi Anucha, MA.MOYO, Ruth Corey, Rebekah Alero, Shireen Qureshi, Sian O’Gorman
Saxophone – David Boyce
Creative Directors – Josh Thomas, Philippa Neels, Sian O’Gorman
Motion Designer and Animator – Nick Cobby
3D Sound Design – Peter Rice
Embodiment Director – Imogen Knight
Remixes – Anna Wall, Deena Abdelwahed, LCY
Mastering – James Rand
Executive Producers – Josh Thomas, Philippa Neels
Production – NYX Collective Records Ltd.

Mutualism was created with the generous support of Arts Council England and Help Musicians UK, PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music.