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CD Feature/ pndc: "Fading Away"

img  Tobias
Don’t be fooled by music mags and trendsetters: Glorious dark rock has never died – and neither has public interest for it. Sometime in 2007, Pedrag Nedic posted instrumental versions of some of his songs on the web, not expecting anything concrete to emerge from his endeavours. Roughly a year later, he has found a congenial musical partner, signed a record deal with a respected label, released an album some are calling a potential hit and breathed fresh air into gothic clubs all around the planet.

Oh sweet fruits of the underground! From a purely marketing-oriented perspective, an album like “Fading away” shouldn’t even be there. A drumcomputer beats cooly and with a mechanically precise metrum, piercing white guitar-strobes are beaming hymnical melodies into the night sky, aggressive bass slabs are scoring bloody initials into your flesh, while angelic synthesizer chorusses drift dreamily over a wasteland of apocalyptic camp fire sessions. Didn’t these metaphors long take their leave along with the 80s?

Well, they might have in glossy, oversized publications with just as much coverage of music as of low-cut jeans. But if New Wave and depressive Rock are the representation of universal emotional states like melancholia, depression, yearning, longing and craving for a bitter kind of beauty offered by a world after midnight, how could they ever die? Eventually, Greek producer Housework discovered Nedic’s wordless sketches and together, they finished a work unafraid of acknowledging its influences.

Then again, “Fading Away” is neither a tribute nor a pastiche. Energetically strummed, almost militaristic acoustic guitars are the foundation to many songs here, their mystical propulsion leading the listener into a tantalising trance. Keyboard pads are organically woven into the texture of the tracks, never coating chords with black sugar. Instead, Housework’s dry, bleeding voice is the focal point, a sinister oasis of calm amidst a sweet slipstream of sinly sounds. Stripped-down to their essence, these are voodoo-folk songs, reinterpreted by the suicidal last guest at a morbid karaoke night at the Titty-Twister.

Even though the general mood is gloomy, pndc have avoided the dangers of sticking to a stereotypical formula. “Fading away” is an eclectic album mood-wise, ranging from the staccato strumming of “Pick up your tears” and the lasciviously languid organ figures of “Disco, Disco” to the swooning fantasy “Thin Moon” and the dreamy bitterness of “Such a Joke”. Some of the instrumental pieces have been left in their original state, loosely connecting vocal tunes and adding an element of spaciousness and depth to the work.

In fact, thanks to these carefully placed compositions, the record turns into a veritable audio-book, a short story led by intuition. Sound-wise, of course, nostalgia reigns supreme but musically, “Fading Away” demonstrates that as long as it connects with universal human emotions, there will always be a future for glorious dark rock.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: pndc
Homepage: Homework
Homepage: Slusaj Najglasnije! Records

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