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Slo'n'lo ambient drift - 82%

caspian, July 9th, 2007

Nadja's frenetic, prolific album release shows no signs of abating. There's this out, a new collab with FFB, another reworked older album coming out soon, and a new EP and full length. Combined with Aidan Baker's huge amount of solo release action, you really have to wonder.. does this guy ever do anything else? Does he live and sleep in a studio? Maybe, but regardless, most of his releases are of a very high quality.

Atavist, meanwhile, aren't nearly as prolific as Nadja. However, their output, while quite sparse, is also of a very high quality. These guys traffic in a very sludgy sort of doom (bringing to mind Khanate, Eyehategod and all that slow 'n' low stuff) that incorporates some interesting influences, whether it's the occaisonal bit of stoner rock-ism, or some delicate clean guitars.

So it looks like an interesting match, right? Well, that doesn't necessarily mean that's it's going to be all that good. Nadja and FFB looked like a match made in heaven, but instead we got a huge slab of brutal, inaccessible drone. I was afraid this would turn out a similiar way, but luckily there's none of that. Indeed, this album is a very gentle and ambient one, bringing to mind Baker's solo albums instead of any lumbering riffs you thought these guys might have conjured.

Well, that's not to say that there's no big guitars on here. For the most part, though, this album seems to be more about a relaxed, sonic exploration, with most parts of the album consisting of mellow, laid back guitars and synths slowly unfolding and building. While the many mellow parts are lush and haunting, they are also really slow, and while test many people's patience. It's definitely true that this album is hard to listen to just by itself.. But it does make a great bit of music for late night listening.

Of course, some parts of this album make late night listening a bit more ominous. The heavier parts in this album are more Atavist-y then Nadja-ish, consisting of low, crunching drones with some truly huge bass. The songs do indeed take a while to get to the heavier parts, but the heavy parts are very satisfying, quite huge and ominous. There's some nice middle ground in the last song too, which eschew the 'big drone/quiet drift' style, instead opting for some sort of middle ground, with most of the song relying on long, tranquil guitar drones.. Basically, a slightly more distorted version of the first song.

Admittedly, there really isn't that much happening within these tracks. Both of them are really long, spacey drone jams, quite sparse and moving very slowly, playing the notes and letting them intertwine and unfold. A lot of people will probably find this boring, and that's totally fair enough, but if you're down with some nice slo-mo ambient then you may well dig this music.