May 21, 2024

NADJA – ‘LUMINOUS ROT’ – ‘Painfully slow and heavy distorted guitar chords’


Painfully slow and heavy distorted guitar chords, accompanied by fuzzed up vocals drift elegantly yet messily in thick air like honey dripping off a spoon. Fuzzy yet super-dense in tone, the set carries the ambience of industrial noise but without the oppressive sadness of doom. The mix is apparently different to previous offerings – instead of producing it themselves, they brought in David Pajo from Slint. The result is bone-heavy yet, on tracks like ‘Fruiting Bodies’, the guitar has sharp elbows.

Nadja are a Canadian duo who have now lived in Berlin for ten years. On this album they fuse crushing riffs, howling feedback, mangled electronics and a steadily slow drum beat. Best played loud, the music anaesthetises and creates a dream-like state in the listener, where liminal spaces expand. The duo say that the album’s theme explores ideas of ‘first contact’ and the difficulties of recognising alien intelligence. Thanks perhaps to recessed, atmospheric vocals and incipient hearing loss, I’m not picking up on that but the overall effect lends itself to pondering and lucid dreaming on matters such as ‘what would it be like to be an octopus?’ (a creature that show the different forms sentience could take) or drifting through the ideas of Stanislaw Lem.

Play it loud

Drift off in a cloud

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