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Reissued by Broken Spine Productions with new (and duller) artwork in 2012, this album consists of just the one 60-minute track of bliss-out hypnotic drone doom metal. It's a huge, sometimes hulking and sometimes quite beautiful work within the duo's narrow musical parameters: layer upon layer of guitar-generated grainy noise textures shaped and moulded by endless looping repetition accompanied by simple rhythms and beats throughout which fragile effects and whispering vocals flit or waft.
A gentle and warm entry into the album on a fairy trail of soothing synthesiser suddenly gives way and listeners plunge into an all-enveloping fluid vortex of loud guitar grind fuzz, solemn beating percussion and background rhythmic foghorn blasts. The angel synthesiser sighs are still present but ebb and flow as if the audience is hanging onto whatever threads connecting it to the outside world are available. The abrasive drone storm soon sweeps us up into the cosmos from where it came however. The music is relentless, implacable and monolithic as it steadily and lumberingly pounds away and a new beat, dull and thudding, develops.
Changes usually happen gradually or, if sudden, in an almost unassuming way. Guitar wash and synthesiser alike bleed into each other into a mighty beast of sound, triumphal in bearing, growing in volume, seething ferocity and intensity. The music advances, then retreats, then takes greater steps, retreats again, and so on, building up slowly to a presumed shrill climax. The music does grow increasingly hysterical but those of us who know Nadja are aware the music can pass abruptly into another cycle of build-up - and so it does here. There's a lot of crunch resulting in ripples of bleeding noise grit, emphasised by sharp beats, continuing for what seems like a never-ending tortuous amount of time. About the 42nd time, the album enters its most over-dramatic phase with slabs of guitar crunch cut and interspersed with quiet ripples of ambient tone that vary in volume.
After the 48th minute, the album enters a quiet phase which again sees in an escalation of a repeated loop, this time with guitar-generated and other effects added as icing on a cresting cake of drone and sound-wash. The music evolves during this phase, piling on layer after layer of noise and effect, transforming from a gentle cub into a near-raging lion, growing tense and unable to contain the pressures building within. Shrill flute twitters within as though something inside the music has gone insane.
The whole edifice is gigantic and some very gorgeous and surprisingly varied music, often contrasted in volume between two strands of sound, is presented. Even so, the way in which the music builds up and climbs ever higher peaks of intensity and volume, only to fall away without really "confronting" its complexity or contradictions in some kind of climax or resolution about two or three times in the track might be frustrating to most listeners. Unfortunately this treatment does happen on other Nadja recordings; it's as if Nadja refuse to learn from past experiences that music does need tension release, that it might occasionally need to break out and then be brought down gently or gradually.
As a result, "Thaumogenesis" doesn't sound like a truly unified structure of sound: it comes across as a disjointed series of slabs of sound in which the common denominator is riding up a rollercoaster, reaching the top and ... starting at or near the bottom of the rollercoaster again. What happens after reaching the top, you don't really quite know.
Anyone who has heard an album from Nadja knows they are bound to impress you. Snail-like crawling riffs careening over glacial drums, and swirling, dreamy synths whose very presence warms and saddens you at the same time; this is the sound of Nadja. This band oozes noisy ambient fuzz and droning repetition. Thaumogenesis is by far, one of the best songs I've ever heard. Clocking in at over 60 minutes it's important to mention, as some people already have, this song is not for everybody. Hell, it might even bore fans of previous Nadja outings. But if you look beyond the intimidating length and the fact that it's just one track, and sit down and listen to this song with a pair of good headphones, you will realize the beauty and will be immediately sucked in. Sure, there may be no more than 5 or 6 different riffs and drum patterns with minute variations in this song, but so what? This project is built for the sole purpose of crushing. If you know what type of music this band plays, you know exactly what you're getting into. Yes, this isn't really an album I'd recommend to a first-time Nadja listener, but it is one of their most important releases. If you're a fan of the band, there is no reason why you shouldn't already have this. The very weight of this song (and pretty much every other Nadja song) is definitely heavy, and needs to be dealt with an open ear and mind. Repetition is the key here. Even the album's art and packaging is impressive. The c.d. is housed in a beautiful 3-page, glossy gatefold. It has the same kind of album cover layout that is usually seen on the most recent Nadja/Aiden Baker albums released through Archive Records, but what sets this aside from the others is that this albums artwork has to be one of the best looking I have ever seen. Mirror-imaged cranes with (depending on which release you got) either a purple and pink background, or a blue background. The vivid colors are stunning.
From the moment you press play, you're greeted with warm and radiating synths that circle you, shortly joined by a quiet and calming guitar and bass intro. After nearly putting you in a trance-like state, there is a subtle yet noticeable volume change. This is the signal for when the song truly kicks in. The signature "wall of sound" Nadja is known for for hits you when you least expect it. The riff is truly epic, sounding unbelievably majestic with funeral dirge drums plodding right along with it. This feeling is felt throughout most of the song, since there is not too much of a change in riffs. There are slow, pounding parts layered with fuzzy, cloudy synthesizers, leaving you barely enough time to catch your breath, let alone pay attention and take it all in. At around 20 minutes, the song slows down, again, back into the pounding, throbbing ambiance. Little by little, over the length of nearly 15 minutes the volume rises, and fuzzy noise creeps in. The riff that follows is one of my favorite parts of the song. If there was a part in this song that you could consider angry, this is it. 6 minutes later, there is less and less of the the anger, with remnants of the riff slamming in and out, eventually trickling down into the sound of a soft guitar surrounded by the all-too familiar whispy synths and distant noise.
Although there are parts with the brief feeling of happiness embedded within this song, there's also the feeling of gloom. It leaves you with a sense of loneliness, as if you're the only one left in the world. There's the feeling of disconnection from everything around you, and the distance between yourself and the outside world is immense. Be warned, listening to this song as a whole is definitely draining. I listen to it about once a day, and never tire of it, but it's a good idea to make sure you have an hour of free time so you don't disrupt the atmosphere and feelings the song gives you in its entirety. Luckily, I had a chance to buy a repressing of the album this year, after it had been out of print for a while. If you can find a copy that isn't being sold for some ridiculous price, buy it immediately. You will not be disappointed.
I'd like you, the reader, to participate in a little activity as a means for me to accurately convey how this album sounds and my reaction to said album. If you would imagine infamous shoegazers "My Bloody Valentine" strung out, lying around in a dirty council flat shooting up heroin. This album is the soundtrack of them playing as they're coming down a couple of hours later, while snorting the odd line of powdered valium off a scarred mirror on a dingy coffee table.
This album/song is bleak and long, very fucking long. I suppose the description of 'drone' gave it away to begin with, it's very reminiscent of the time I went to see SunnO))) live albeit minus the crazy drummer from Boris wailing on a gong and being just generally batshit insane. Oh and minus Attila attempting to eat his microphone perpetually.
Unfortunately I'm rather ignorant of their previous releases and having only listened to "Radiance of Shadows" which coincidently contains one of the best engrish titles to ever grace a jewel case; "Now I am Become Death, The Destroyer of Worlds". They're from Canada no less so that title was a top notch effort, Boris do it better but that's a given. I digress; I know nothing about this band and for the most part they basically remind of longer, more drone driven 'The Angelic Process' at least during this stage of their progression. "Thaumogenesis" presents the listener with 62 minutes ambient drone doom, although with the pacing of this album at times you could forgiven for thinking there were two or three separate songs, perhaps by entirely different bands; the slow, ambient build up. The cacophonous raging guitars that summon images of avalanches, tsunamis and other damaging but naturally occurring events. Finally the last 30 minutes in which bugger all happens right up until the end where Nadja redeems themselves as drone kings.
Admittedly I haven't listened to this song a respectable amount of times, in my defense it's a fucking 60 minute song so my ability to listen to it repeatedly is limited by my caffeine rotted attention span and my constant mental breakdowns wherein I curl up in the fetal position mumbling to myself for a good 30 minutes about how not studying for my upcoming hydraulics exam is a fucking capital idea. Furthermore this is a song that must be listened to in its entirety otherwise it's lost on you, to those who think otherwise you are uncultured fucks and should die in a fire. It's not like the latest Exodus wherein you can listen to 2 - 4 minutes of a single song and map out the rest of the album because it's uninspired and repetitive tripe. At this stage I am sounding a little too artsy for my own liking but the entire progression of the song is the point of the song, it's not about the riffs which are of course shithouse and only made bearable because they plug their guitars into amps made out of plush toys. It's all about atmosphere, about conveying emotions; a sense of isolation and desolation or conversely about crushing despair, suffocating crushingness and of course, crushing suffocation.
Despite all that wankery about atmosphere and 'feelings' this song does take its toll after awhile, and overstays its visit rather gratuitously. For about 35 minutes it's fairly bearable and I enjoy those densely layered, apocalyptic minutes in a place next to my shriveled black heart of pure malevolence (or so I'm told). The last 30+ minutes are an exercise in excruciating patience; the next riff is pretty annoying resembling a stomp, well a stomp in say very fuzzy ugg boots, every couple of seconds. It's the closest thing I've heard to a droning chug riff, I almost wish those words were just a grindcore title but its true. After those 10 minutes of monotony we get ambience which is rather nice but the song is dying for another climax, another crescendo of ethereal and crushing guitars to swoop in again and smash your face clean off. The guitars build up like a geriatric attempting to muster one final boner before death penetrates his frail form unrelentingly with his massive, erect scythe. If you're detecting a Freudian motif then let me cut to the chase; the album suffers from erectile dysfunction but thankfully it pops a viagra pulling off a feedback and distortion laid passage. The sound emitted at the wake of an EMP in the midst of a metropolis probably sounds a lot like this; electrical components buzzing and crackling with the frantic speed of spidering electrical currents as a wave of displaced electrons fucks their shit right up. It's fucking impressive.
This album is not for everyone and in fact it's for such a niche group one can't help respect Nadja for sticking to their guns and creating such inaccessible, minimalist and elitist music. While I could do without the majority of the last half it's still impeccably composed, considering most bands can barely go beyond 5 minutes without cocking everything up, Nadja pass the 30 minute mark with a certain finesse that other bands wish they could possess.
'Thaumogenesis', a 62 minutes long song, is nothing more than a dragging overlong experience which is established about almost nothing. It's ridiculous and embarrassing at the same time, it's way too primitive to actually be taken seriously as a piece of music.
It can serve as a background music which no one really cares for, but not even for a full hour because a tiny variation is needed even in background music.
The tempo here is slow, extremely slow. The riffs are dull, absolutely going nowhere and repeat themselves for fifteen minutes before exchanging, and when they finally exchanging, comes another boring riff which is utterly tintless. The minimalism is reigning! The same tempo, the same time signature, the same drum track, the same atmosphere...it's the same crap repeating itself over and over. The only variation in this weary journey (which happpens every 20 minutes or so) is within the dynamics of the song, which means that sometimes the song will be louder and sometimes no...what an world shaking discovery!
"Melancholy, yearning, sorrow, joy, love- there's so many emotions expressed in this album." What? Is this the same album that I've listened to? This is must be one of the most shallow albums I've ever listened to. I can't understand how such a hollow song can express any type of emotion.
In conclusion: this is a boring, frayed, lazy, bad produced, dragging, frustrating, dull and pointless album which may be adored only by EXTREMELY easily impressed minds. Avoid this album at any cost!
Songs that break the one hour mark are becoming quite common, so I wasn't phased when I saw the length of this track. However, it will deter a lot of people from listening to it. What you have to keep in mind is that Nadja aren't a simplistic verse, chorus, verse outfit. Though a fair amount of repetition is involved in a lot of Nadja's work, brilliant song writing and fantastic composition make up for the repetitive nature of their material. I myself like repetition. I'm used to dealing with it.
To me, if something is repeated it helps me soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the essence of a band's material. When it comes to Nadja, enjoying their essence is vital. I'd assume there is a great divide when it comes to Nadja's work. They love it or hate it ruling comes into play again. It won't be the last time either. Having said all that, repetition doesn't play as big a part as it usually does on Thaumogenesis.
There is variation. Whether that be through the slow and low bass, the gorgeous synths that harness Nadja's atmospheric nature or the purposeful guitar riffs. Each instrument has the ability to chop and change at a moments notice. However much one may think you will lose interest with a one hour long song, the music will take you by the hand and force you to accompany it on it's journey of inner discovery. If you're ever looking for music to soul search with, Thaumogenesis is it.
Thaumogenesis is nothing but a mammoth full-length. Not only in length, but in sheer quality. It's intimidating, but that's all part of the appeal. The soul of Nadja is like an endless ocean. It stretches fair into the distance and covers a lot of ground, the same could be said for their music. Not bound by genre. Not tied down to any preconceived notion. Nadja may have a genre tag, but they're boundless. If Nadja had to be something other than what they are, they'd be the horizon. You can see it, but you cannot touch it. The same can be said for many bands within the same genre as Nadja. They cannot miss their talent, but they cannot touch it. They're paralysed. They are consumed.
Nadja's swirling ambience runs through the listener like a fire can tear down the highest tree. With ease and seemingly elegance. Nadja's music dances like flames on a fire. It moves with divine grace and entrances your mind. Soundscapes so beautiful you're cannot comprehend. Thaumogenesis represents a landmark achievement in Nadja's history. Though many of Nadja's previous full-lengths stick to displaying a particular array of emotions, this full-length does not. You can sense many different emotions behind the music. A sense of starry-eyed love, euphoria and happiness often ebb and flow throughout due to the sythns. On the other hand, sorrow and sombre soundscapes are used too. A joy to behold.
My seventh Nadja review! I kind of think that praising every album this guys does will make all of these reviews very redundant. Does Mr.Baker and co really deserve another glowing review? Well, if this was another 'typical' Nadja release, perhaps I wouldn't have reviewed it, or perhaps I'd give it a lower mark.
However, this is above and beyond your typical Nadja release. It's kind of hard to think up good comparisons with, well, any metal band. When something is as brilliantly composed, arranged and well written as this, comparisons with most music is insulting. Call me crazy, or a raving fanboy (both of which will probably be accurate)- but to me, this album stands with some of the all time best music, stuff like Beethoven and Mozart and what have you. This album will still be getting played in 100 years time.
One thing that tells you just how interesting this song is is the fact that you really don't want it to end. A good (if pretentious) metaphor would be to imagine an artist painting a picture. Most artists will be able to paint a small canvas, and fill it up with detail and stuff. Give those artists a bigger canvas, and some will rise to the challenge. However, some won't have enough vision or enough skill to fill in the whole canvas, so they'll put in some filler to pad it out, and the painting will be somewhat boring and uninspired. Give a painter a huge canvas, and again, less people will be able to do something interesting with it, because of the greater attention to detail that's required.
Well, Nadja can paint on a really, really big canvas. The 61 minute long running length of this track will turn quite a few people off, but seriously folks, this is an interesting song, a very interesting song. There's plenty of repetition, but everything is purposeful, slowly building towards some big guitar nirvana, or delicately ebbing away. I can't help but think that Nadja laboured on this album for an extremely long time, making sure it never got boring, making sure no note was wasted. Again, don't let the "One hour long track" thing scare you away. Whether it's clean guitars and a hushed, minimalistic backing of synths, or huge distorted guitar slabs, Nadja have enough variation and layering to keep the most ADHD kid interested.
I guess one thing I haven't explained yet is, well, what does it sound like? For people already familiar with Nadja, expect something somewhat similar to the norm, but far more layered- a really incredible amount of synths in this album- and lots of sparse, fuzzy guitar notes. This album is definitely more ambient then usual Nadja albums, and while there's some big riffage around the fourty minute mark, most of it stays hushed and textured. It's nowhere near as riff orientated as, say, Touched. For those new to Nadja, it can be hard describing them.. The best thing is to imagine Jesu or My Bloody Valentine slowed way, way down, with heaps of fuzz and synths put over the top, and a huge concentration on the texture and feel of the songs, as opposed to playing some heavy riffs. Like many other Nadja records, this album seems quite simple to understand but really is vastly complicated and layered.
Often there will be some sort of vocals in your typical Nadja release, but you get the feeling that putting vocals in is totally unnecessary for this album, because the instruments are expressing all the emotions. Melancholy, yearning, sorrow, joy, love- there's so many emotions expressed in this album. The synths and guitars are so damn emotional, even when there's only two notes being played. Isn't there some blues thing about wanting to say the most things with the least notes? Well, here's a fine example of it.
Reading back on this review, I realise I sound a lot like a huge freaking fanboy. I'm not going to say "Anyone with an open mind will enjoy this" or whatever, because obviously that's not going to happen. However, I think this record is one of the best releases of any genre for a very long time. I think it's really gorgeous and emotional. I think that even though it's an hour long drone song, it's surprisingly easy to get into. I think you should all download this now.. As unfortunately it's out of print. Still, try to get it! It is worth it!