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Collaborations & Nadja Don't Mix. - 30%

Perplexed_Sjel, June 13th, 2010

Oh dear. I lose the will to live every single time I notice that Nadja have collaborated on an album with another artist. The only time I can remember that I’ve walked away from a Nadja collaboration and felt slightly satisfied was during the Pyramids collaboration and considering they’ve only worked together once, whilst Nadja have released several albums of this type, I’ve quickly become sick to death with these affairs. In fact, when I think of Nadja collaborations, my blood level rise and boil, the face turns red and profanities begin to slip off the end of my tongue like I’ve suddenly developed a really bad case of tourettes syndrome. This collaboration with a band I’ve never heard of before, Troum, is an abomination of a full-length and need not ever be considered as a Nadja record again, at least from my personal perspective.

Troum don’t appear to add anything to this album. Nothing. At all. I don’t even understand where they would come into the make-up of this album. Do they supply the minimalistic ambiance? If so, why? Aren’t Nadja capable of doing that themselves. Recent EP’s like ‘Ruins of Mourning’ prove that, yes, in actual fact, they quite clearly are capable of doing so themselves. This first song on the latest album, entitled ‘Dominium Visurgis’ is a tedious, boring and lacklustre ambient track which stretches over ten minutes long. It doesn’t evolve, it never branches out of its comfort zone and it doesn’t offer anything in the way of variation. The ambiance drifts really slowly and doesn’t change much along the way. Song writing must be a difficult subject to broach because how do you talk about abstract ambiance and the way it evolves?

For the opening few minutes I had expected an ambient start, but for the entire song? No, surely not. This song is abysmal. I assume the ambiance is generated by programming and keyboards, as well as a distant guitar with lots of distortion. No drums, no vocals. There isn’t really much to say about the atmosphere because its near enough dead. It’s like sitting in a field in the middle of nowhere listening to how empty the world sounds at night. It really does drag on and although the ambiance and guitars begin to become more fore fronted, they still remain largely uninteresting and fail to establish a connection with me on a personal, very emotive level. Usually, Nadja are great at drawing me into their dreamy atmospherics, but not here. This collaboration must have been difficult to conjure up because there isn’t much in the way of talking to be done because nothing much occurs for the opening ten minutes.

Thankfully, the second song, known as ‘Part 2’ is a lot more adventurous, even though it feels vaguely similar to old Nadja records. Finally, Troum’s influence can be felt as the song is given a weirdly electronic vibe and the guitars and drums are muted. I have mixed feelings over this song, but it’s certainly more preferable to ‘Part 1’ which was a no-thrills type of affair with very little movement or experimentation in themes. Troum appear to be some sort of minimalistic ambient-meets-electronic act. Their influence on this album is consistent once ‘Part 2’ kicks off and they certainly give the album more kick to it, but the opening song is unforgivable. This second song feels more to do with Nadja’s stylistic approach than it does Troum’s, though I cannot really comment too much since I’ve never heard Troum before this. I assume they’re electronic based and tend to divulge in really nightmarish atmospherics with a distant use of vocals, as is shown here.

The song offers more in the way of actual material, instead of floating ambiance, but the contents are still very thread-bare. There are some distant vocals eventually drawn into the atmosphere, giving it a much more improved and memorable feel, but the song begins to feel relatively clustered by the electronic based ambiance, vocals and Nadja-esque pummelling of the drums and really powerful, adrenaline pumping distortion. The song builds and builds like waves crashing faster and more fiercely against the sea shore. After several more minutes, the atmosphere swells and bursts into life, vigorous experimentation, vivid colours begin to seep from off the artwork and screen and swirl in my mind. The nightmarish atmosphere is punctuating and creepy, but this doesn’t last as the song eventually settles down into ‘Part 3’, which is mostly ambient and follows a similar pattern of the worthless ‘Part 1’. This time the ambiance has a more aquatic feel to it and does feel a lot easier to listen to because it does change, but, overall, this album feels pretty damn worthless and would be a complete and utter disaster if it were not for the second song. Avoid.