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CD Feature/ Nadja/ Aidan Baker/ Leah Buckareff: "Trinity"

img  Tobias
You should expect Nadja to have completely demistified themselves by now. Each month brings a new release and each release brings more insight into their motivations, aesthetics, philosphies and techniques. Each album is selling out quicker than the previous, too, with Consouling records recently being unable to send out promos of “The Bungled and the Botched”, because its 500 copies had disappeared in just over a month.

Nadja’s sound has everything to do with ripping structures apart and replacing the safety net of lyrics, vocals, melody and harmonic progressions with the naked horror of the essence of what really constitutes Doom: Riffs and resonance. What lurks underneath this duopoly is a mere metaphorical suggestion with other bands but harsh reality to the Canadian duo. “So bitter... But, also a cathartic way to get that person off your mind and onto the blank page.” Bassist and Drummer Leah Buckareff writes about the “Mixtape Journal” she is selling in her profession as a designer, but it would make for a perfect description for her band’s music as well.

This process of disassembling has reached a temporary acme with “Trinity”. Suddenly, a long track by Nadja is juxtaposed with individual contributions by its members, Buckareff and Baker. Just as with progressive bands in the 70s, the group itself is turning into an object of musical consideration and analysis, raising all sorts of questions: Who is responsible for what? Who’s the real “leader”? What happens in that mysterious moment when the sounds and sonorities of two individuals merge into a coherent and personal style? That sort of thing.

Even though he again twists his formula of organic and moody drones by a finely defined angle, Baker’s “Carrizozo” offers least surprises in this respect – quite a natural feat for someone who has already manifested his ideas in a gargantuan solo discography: Loose acoustic guitar strings gently shivering in the evening air are magnetised by warm ambient impulses and myriads of spacey blubberings and tweeterings in a track which develops through extremely discreet changes. After reaching a climax halfway, the music gradually falls apart, leaving nothing but an empty field of quietly swelling sounds.

Buckareff’s piece, in comparison, provides more insight. The way she floods a single-note bass loop, panning from left to right, with waves of feedback and crushing distortion, while revelling in their painful collisions and the slight rhythmical friction of their inner frequencies, points towards an interest in Noise and possibly even Industrial. Nadja has always been a band which prefered operating on an intuitive level, with no action requiring intellectual justification. Quite possibly, Buckareff is responsible for this tendency, with Baker’s elegant sense of arrangement and atmospherics providing for form and direction.

This impression is solidified by the concluding piece of “Trinity”, on which the protagonists reunite for seventeen minutes of apocalyptic powerchords. “Jornado del Muerto” opens with a romantic, merely seconds-short guitar semblance, before streaks of feedback flow dark, depressive and ominously underneath the delayed echoes of metallic percussion. From nowhere, Baker’s riff explodes onto the soundscape, growing in thickness, loudness and brutality over the composition’s duration. It is a terrifyingly linear piece of music, its sluggish footsteps marching unerringly towards destruction.

However, it also reunites the poles of regality and utter ugliness like nothing else. “Trinity” proves that the musical partnership between Baker and Buckareff relies on them remaining themselves while becoming one with the other. With both musicians apt at several instruments, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell who is playing what and their style is gelling into a monolithic mass of faceless, granite sound.

This is supposed to be a compliment, by the way. The reverse of the initial thesis is to true: If anything, Nadja are growing more mysterious with each release.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Nadja
Homepage: Die Stadt Musik

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