Three short reviews from me in this month's collection of Liminal Minimals - Gareth Dickson's Quite A Way Away, Excision by Nadja and Paths by Olan Mill.
Nadja - Excision
This game is all about finding useful signpost comparisons and flailing about for adjectives, and when you come up against bands like Nadja the recourse tends to be towards comparisons to early 80s synth gloom (The Cure) and industrial battering of Godflesh, but neither are particularly satisfactory ways of getting to the nature of their sound. As for adjectives, it’s all vast, sludgy, magmatic: Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff with mere guitars and drum machines create a sound that seems to exude from the very mantle of the earth. And with Excision, a collection of now unavailable vinyl-only releases from 2007-2009, the duo have reached something of an apotheosis: 8 tracks, all over 17 minutes long and totalling more than two and half hours – a relentless elemental wave of slow crawling brutality. It’s like being suspended in a minutely moving wall of granite. The sixth track here, ‘Kitsune (Fox Drone)’ – a track that previously featured on a split LP with German band Kodiak – might be the best thing the duo have produced, or at least enough of a signature track to act as a kind of Nadja tincture for the uninitiated. It bleeds into the ears, twin rivers of glutinous, fibrous miasma that roil and coalesce as they enter and exit your sonic field. It’s a model of control as much as anything, a mastery of their potential.