The Nightlife Review Pt. 9: SWEAT, SEX, SLEEP, REPEAT by Vivian Medithi

This nightlife scent mixtape is the 9th entry in our new 10-part nightlife editorial series, produced by Dirt & Elsewhere


By Vivian Medithi@perlucidum

When The Nightlife Review asked me if I could put together another scent mixtape themed around nightlife, there were exactly three scenarios on my mind: perfume for the club, perfume for sex, and perfume for sleep. The few things that matter most between sundown and sunup.

As for nightlife with Vivian, my friends know I’ll have a couple perfume samples on hand if anyone needs a spritz up. And they’ve long been inured to the usual night out greeting, a wrist under the nose and an inquisitive stare, almost always to be answered in the affirmative: “that’s really good.” My favorite part of this ritual isn’t the affirmation, but the inhalation, that moment before they’ve begun decoding the fragrance. That liminal moment when they know the smell without knowing whether it’s “good” or “bad.”


Gucci Time” by Gucci Mane feat. Swizz Beatz // Absinth by Nasomatto

Swizz Beatz needs “everybody to report to the dancefloor right now.” When I say I was born in the wrong era I mean it makes me suicidal to think I’ll never be in a roomful of 20-somethings screaming along to this song. Standing in the center of the club, Gucci Mane spills out a slurry of syllables that slip and swerve across a serrulate loop of “Phantom Pt. II” by Justice, airless and adrenalized. “White boy wasted, frat house wasted/Amazing/like my bracelet, I’m flossing/RIP to Mike ice got my chest moonwalking.”

Swizz was introduced to Justice by Pharrell and Q-Tip, who wouldn’t stop calling to ask if he’d checked out the French duo’s music. And there is a synchronicity between, say, the clipping tsunami of “Waters of Nazareth” and the metallic modulation of “I Can Transform Ya,” the impression of a DAW pushed to the brink.

Naturally, the beat to “Gucci Time” feels like kismet: Justice’s sawtooth maximalism is thunderous enough to stand up against Swizz’s preferred mode of production, about as subtle as the Kool-Aid Man. It’s a flush fit for the consumptive hedonism of the club, where labor and libido sublimate happily into profit margins. The catharsis of cash flow seems to spur dopamine even as money comes out of Gucci’s pocket—“I ordered 40 more bottles, why? Have no idea”—American excess.

Absinth by Nasomatto is equally brash, “the result of a quest to stimulate irresponsible behaviour,” sharply green in the nostrils: anise and artemisia, then vetiver bedrock, a splash of citrus. As a child, perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri spent a lot of time around farm animals and manure; you get the sense that his work at Nasomatto is a concerted effort to bring real sensation back to the world of perfume, which has optimized toward skin scent subtlety and aldehydic cleanliness.

Absinthe (the spirit) cuts the bitterness of wormwood with a blend of botanicals: anise and fennel, occasionally hyssop, coriander and mint, among others. Absinth (the perfume) opts instead for minimalist clarity, almost one-dimensional on first spray. The vetiver here is particularly dry and woody, a strong support for verdant Artemisia absinthium. There’s a depth here too that reveals itself further along the evaporation curve, smoldering like alcohol pooling in the abdomen.

Insistent and unyielding, this perfume’s herbaceous buzz mirrors the pitched-up synths swarming under “Gucci Time,” sillage as loud as a Swizz Beatz adlib. In nightclubs heavy with cloying fragrance, why would you want to be the sugar cube when you could be the absinthe?

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