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Atavist & Nadja's last collab was decent enough if not the most mindblowing thing ever; consisting mostly of some extremely relaxed (some may say comatose) ambient jams. Quite the patience tester but also pretty cool and with some relatively surprising results. This one's a fair bit different from that one, really. Higher highs, lower lows.
First track's probably where it's at. It's a real slow, haunting tune with some very down tuned guitar and those man-choir vocals that everyone seems to be loving these days. It's a patience tester but very, very cool; imagine a kveldssanger tune slowed down by 800% or so and you wouldn't be too far away. It's a pretty simplistic tune that will likely bore the pants off the average punter but I enjoy it a fair bit, it's just a real nice mellow tune that moves along at a beautifully glacial pace.
Second track's not nearly as good but most people will find at least the first few or so minutes interesting enough. This one's all about getting raped by massive riffs and it's impressively heavy; all tar black sludge riffs and screamed vocals. Well, that's what the first third is about. I can't for the life of me figure out why they go back to the drone, though; it's a real anticlimactic move and the lack of building or movement within said drone is a real bummer. Long, sustained tones and studio trickery can be cool, but not right after you're all excited about a huge riff-fest.
A pretty poor move, really. Still, the first track is terrific and while the second track could perhaps be better divided into two songs it's still pretty cool. Nadja fans will want this, newcomers to the band would be better off with something else.
The dictionary defines the term ‘prolific’ as, “producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive: a prolific writer.” Nadja, a Canadian act who have issued several full-length records to the public, as well as other material this year have been on a non-stop journey since their arrival in 2002 are a prolific band. An astonishing amount of material has been produced for the adoring public, which includes myself, whom have shown the band much support since their creation despite a few falters along the way. Some of Nadja’s material has failed to produce the standards and successful opinions that other sections of their discography has. For example, one does not dare to compare the likes of the almost flawless ‘Desire In Uneasiness’ or the re-recorded version of ’Bliss Torn From Emptiness’ to the low lights of ‘Guilted By The Sun’, which failed in a spectacular fashion to evoke the emotions that previous outings had done with class and ease. This effort, ‘II: Points At Infinity’ is the second collaborative effort with British band Atavist, whom are also widely recognised as a top act. One hopes, on the basis of the songs put forward by both bands when working in tangent, that they continue to work together if they’re going to produce such provocative material.
The first collaborative effort, ‘12012291920 / 1414101’ was a lucid look into the mystical world of dreams and floating ambiance. The second collaborative effort is similar, in that sense at least, to the first. The waving ambiance which floats majestically like a spectre slinks in and out of the misty world of dreams, evoking a number of spectacular emotions from euphoria to a drug like state of relaxation. The works of Nadja can be defined as poetry in the form of music full of esoteric allusions. If there is one thing that this simplistic piece proves, it is that no matter how severity or straightforwardness that this collaborative works provide, the material will still be majestic and masterful in it’s approach. To say that, once again, this work is simplistic would be applying litotes. The first track, of which there are two, is entitled ‘Projective Plane’. This song is more powerful than the second, which is entitled ‘Closed Curve’. Although, ordinarily, I’m not a huge fan of Nadja’s collaborative work, I can muster up an appreciation for their efforts with Atavist, whom I don’t necessarily pay much attention to outside of their material with this Canadian drone band.
The first song, ‘Projective Plane’ is formulated from beginning to end. It consists of one guitar playing a simplistic chord structure for a long period of time. There are those who say poetry can be defined as multiple use of the literary technique of repetition, although this is debated. To me, that feature alone makes me recognise this epic as poetry in the form of music. As Alphonse de Lamartine once said, “Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.” To me, this is very much true. The uniformity of this unique epic is what drives the soundscapes forward. As well as this, the vocals also do, but to a much lesser extent. Vocal work on Nadja’s releases doesn’t normally happen, so one must think that the inclusion of vocals, which are painful chants without saying anything, is the work of Atavist. The inclusion of vocals is important as it concentrates the sorrow of the song, which is overwhelming at times. The excruciatingly painful nature of this song sets it up as a classic, although it doesn’t contain much of a direction, which is interesting, but yet odd. The regular format of distorted guitars and heavy percussion doesn’t exist on ‘Projective Plane’ and is a welcomed change.
‘Closed Curve’ is a routine song from both bands, picking up again the distortion of the guitars and the heaviness that the percussion brings to the soundscapes. In my eyes, the first song is more effective in its use of ambiance, which is applied throughout both songs. The ambiance swells and creates a crescendo effect on the soundscapes, but without any true direction. Although there are going to be those who’re obviously disappointed by the lack of evident direction, the innocent and relaxed approach is refreshing to hear. ‘Closed Curve’ begins with a usual high tempo, with this screeching ambiance piercing its way into the mind like a sword through a heavy heart bleeding emotions. This element is seemingly provided by the keyboards, which play a pivotal role in creating the atmospherics. The second song is certainly more constructive and contains a distinctive direction towards aggressive soundscapes which are mostly contributed to by the harsh vocals, which are deep screams. Although there may be more content, the imagination is restricted by the instrumentation, which I found disappointing. Bass also suffers from the heavy percussion which relies on crashing cymbals a lot and the piercing ambiance, which may become an annoyance to some. Enjoyable, but not the best, by any means.