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Decent if unspectacular; for completists only. - 55%

caspian, June 17th, 2008

Almost caught up to the insane amount of 2008 Nadja releases! To be honest I'm pretty relieved that Nadja have slowed their release rate down a bit (no release in the last two months); as their work was slowly going from prolific-good to "man this dude must put no effort into any of his releases" (obviously shitty dudes like ZBT and other one man black metal efforts come to mind); and the fact that quite a few of them sounded really similar (and a few weren't particularly solid, either) made the whole process a bit wearying.

This split is probably in those "mediocre nadja things that didn't really need to be released" category; it's not offensive or anything- it's quite good (well, the 5/5/08 side isn't, but we'll get to that later), but it's something we've heard a lot before and also sounds a little bit unfinished.

"Spain" follows the a well-trod formula of getting some incredibly simple bass riff and just adding an insane amount of ethereal skree and stuff over the top of it until the whole thing is just this white hot, blinding sort of thing; if we want to get a bit over the top with words then I'd describe this as a field recording of the sun, or a supernova or something. This is a pretty cool tune; the layering and ominous yet still transcendent, cosmic sort of mood this thing generates is a powerful one indeed- but I can't help feeling a bit unsatisfied with it. There's not really any sort of interesting composition, just a bass riff that gets a billion layers dumped on top of it. I can't help but feel that this would be a lot better if it had vocals and was maybe put into the context of a longer song; perhaps this could be the final noise build at the end of some hour long epic. As it stands it's a pretty cool Nadja track but certainly not anything that's much of a standout.

"Shadows in the Valley of Death" is 5/5/2008's contribution to this release; it has it's moments but overall it's pretty bad. The piece begins with some very appealing drones and a bit of resonating gong action that sounds cool (very cool, actually) for the first 7 minutes, but it's all downhill from there. The structure is somewhat perplexing; instead of the drone thickening the whole thing gets progressively thinner and treblier around the 8 minute mark, where some rather unfocused, fairly purposeless guitars and filters come in. The change really kills it; what was originally a nice slab of opaque, incredibly thick drone (sounding a fair bit like a more claustrophobic version of Alan Lamb's various telegraph wire recordings) becomes, well, this extremely boring, vaguely Aidan Baker-ish sort of clean guitar murmur.. I guess if you're feeling charitable you could say it's "abstract and dreamy" or something, I'll say that 5/5/08 should've kept to the low end.

Essentially, this record is far from terrible but overall I find this hard to recommend; Nadja make a valiant attempt but we've heard it all before, and 5/5/08 really screw up what would otherwise be an excellent tune. Completists should get this, otherwise it's not really worth spending your money on.