Bilal Nasser 
“On the Surface” 

As the year draws to a close, many of us find ourselves embracing a posture of reflection. With the hope of a fresh start, we turn towards the approaching new year, facing the metaphorical blank canvas with our chins up and fists clenched. However, in Bilal Nasser‘s first official music video, a different approach unfolds.

Premiering on September 13th, “On the Surface” marked Nasser’s return since the release of his debut album, “Where the Orange Groves Grow,” in 2021. Since then, Nasser has continued to exist outside conventional boundaries, using this space to construct a broader narrative. This latest track and video transcend being a mere single; they represent a new sonic expedition, offering a glimpse into the creative mind of a Palestinian-Canadian artist carving a permanent space for himself in a world that seeks to do otherwise.

“Come down, no one’s watching…” he whispers, his vocals delicately tucked under the drone of his post-classical guitar sound. Crafting this single, Nasser introduces unprecedented sources of sound production—imagine a skateboard wheel amplified through a pedalboard, vocals seamlessly interwoven with the guitar’s resonances. This auditory experimentation infuses an intimate quality into the music, intricately weaving his essence into each note and lyric.

The haunting lyrics seem to trace two stories—the first, where the listener is encouraged to fall, letting go of expectation and fear, diving deeper than the surface of themselves. In this way, Nasser bridges the gap between the past, present, and future. The once blank canvas is adorned with the hues of infinite possibilities, visually represented in the music video with found footage of childhood videos projected onto a present Nasser.

The second story almost traces his existence as a Palestinian-Canadian. Against the backdrop of the ongoing war for Palestine, the line “No one’s watching” invokes memories of a book on the Rwandan genocide, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, by Philip Gourevitch. The world continues to turn away. Yearning for a different future, the enduring spirit of Palestine finds resonance in the layers of “On the Surface.” This single transcends musical exploration; it becomes a nuanced reflection. The visual experience, marrying nostalgia with contemplation, leaves audiences breathless. Immersed in its distinctive soundscape, it’s evident that Nasser is navigating uncharted waters, painting beyond the confines of expectation.

star, star