There aren't many drone and ambient bands out there that can hold my interest for more than a couple of minutes. There has to be a certain something special there - something epic and enormous - to make me want to keep listening. And Nadja is a band that has that certain something.
Nadja is a Toronto, Canada duo that has already established themselves through a series of CDR releases as well as their recent debut CD on Alien8 Recordings. Bodycage is a re-release of a limited CDR from 2005. Their sound is firmly based in ambient electronics and a masterfully programmed drum machine.
The first of five tracks, "Clinodactyl," is by far my favorite and illustrates what is so great about Nadja. Layers upon layers of ambience are piled on top of each other until they completely overwhelm you. This is accompanied by otherworldly cymbal crashes and vocals that are on the very threshold of being audible. It is intense in the most subtle, serene way. The real centerpiece here is the electronics. They are beautiful and very haunting. I found myself on the edge of my seat for every second of the twenty-one-minute "Clinodactyl," something I really wasn't expecting.
The next track, "Autosomal," is based around a highly repetitive bass or guitar riff (I'm not sure which one it is, probably bass), and is the most "drone" song in the album. It is still very haunting and definitely managed to keep me listening. The last titled track, "Ossification," as well as two more untitled tracks are more ambient than anything else, but still far better than your average ambient music.
The album opener "Clinodactyl" alone is worth the price of admission. Bodycage really went above and beyond my expectations for something that was originally just released as a CDR. This makes me want to check out their debut, because this band could go places with their sound. This is, above all else, an ambient album, but it has moments that it transcends the limitations of said genre and becomes simply "epic." There are a lot bands out there, in many genres, that could learn a lesson from this.
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Aidan Baker and has announced a run of dates this winter in Europe, both with his group Nadja and solo. Grab the dates below.
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