Hate me for it, but this release was the one that kind of soured me on Nadja and (in particular) all of their collaborations because, right from the word “go”, Fool, Redeemer was an absolute chore to sit through my first full listening “party” of the album; now, let me be up front and declare that given my obsession with the duo, I voraciously devour any and all music from Nadja or rather I did until this collaboration / split with Picastro and that is part of the problem in that everything about this album both refers to it as a split and a collaboration (and this confusion might be part of the issue for me).
Now, while this may not be fair to Picastro (I had never heard anything from them prior to this collaboration), but I cannot fathom what is going on this album; the stringed instruments barely sound tuned or even in key, and any sense of the blissful music for which I love Nadja seems almost completely missing from the first half of Fool, Redeemer and replaced by an at times interesting re-assessment of tubular bells with strings. The high point from the album for me on what is apparently the Picastro side is definitely “A New Soul’s Benediction” where all of the sounds from the album seem to coalesce into one sublime pop song that completely took me unawares when it finally played on my stereo, and I mean top down that the song is completely a pop song completely with a sweet female vocal overtop the strings and guitars heard in the beginning several tracks on the album; the last piece on the album (“Venom”) brings to mind what one would normally expect from Nadja and “redeems” the whole release for me with its blessed out ambience and hypnotic sounds.
I would definitely characterize this as a strange exercise in creating a dichotomy because it took me almost a year to get through the first three pieces of musique concrete that dominates the first side of Fool, Redeemer (again, apparently the bulk of the Picastro side) and that time led me to literally not wanting to really listen to too much from Nadja in the intervening time (besides of course some of their old stand by’s); but maybe that is the point of the album, the first half is purposefully out of character (the “Fool” part) and the second half is supposed to make the first worth it (the “redeemer” part). In any case, I am glad that I made it through the album eventually, because the last track of side A and side B are just excellent; but you do have to make it through to that sweetness first.
6.0 / 10
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