Release Date: Oct 30, 2012
Record label: Broken Spine
Based on their many releases over the start of the 21st century, as well as their performances, it made sense to assume that the duo of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff would maintain their drone/zone moodouts for some time to come after they returned in late 2012 with their first album in two years. But Dagdrøm showed they had one heck of a joker up their sleeve -- a live drummer replacing their drum machine, and said drummer being none other than Jesus Lizard veteran Mac McNeilly. The combination of his careful, aggressive-when-needed playing and the core duo's performances makes this four-song collection a wonderful surprise, something that extends what the band can do rather than simply returning to the past.
Of all the adjectives and sub-genres that have been employed to describe Nadja's experimetal, ambient dirge-gaze, "dreamsludge" is most relevant to their latest release, Dagdrøm. The album name translates as "daydream" in Danish and it's an extremely fitting title for a record that spends its duration spiralling inwards, exploring a pulsing, imaginative internal landscape. The core duo of the band, Aiden Baker and Leah Buckareff, are joined by former Jesus Lizard drummer Mac McNeilly, whose contributions add an insistent depth to the record, a sense of gravity and a sucking, almost threatening vacuum.
You don't so much throw on a Nadja album as dunk your head in one; the smoggy haze of fuzz and scuzz that permeates the Berlin-based doom-gaze duo's albums is so relentless and all-consuming that, after a while, it starts to feel as comforting and commonplace as oxygen. But something remarkable happens at the beginning of Nadja's new album, and that is: nothing at all. In place of the impenetrable wall of noise that usually greets you on their many recordings, there's just the quiet murmur of Leah Buckareff's bass, the tick-tock tap of a cymbal, and a complete absence of Aidan Baker's effects-pedal onslaught-- by Nadja standards, this is the equivalent of cutting an Unplugged session.
There’s been a lot of excited talk on the fuzz and buzz grapevine about the latest album from prolific drone/shoegaze metal two-piece Nadja. Joining the core duo of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff on Dagdrøm is Jesus Lizard drummer Mac McNeilly, and speculation has been rife that Nadja has decided to take a bold new tack and start rockin’ instead of rollin’. That’s somewhat accurate.
Mac McNeilly has a proven track record for taking the place of drum machines in metal bands. With the power and precision that he brings to the kit, it’s no wonder that once The Jesus Lizard brought him onboard for their full-length follow-up to their debut EP, they never looked back. Nadja, the Canadian ambient doom duo (not to be confused with Nadja the French Canadian R&B singer or Nadja the confessional poet) are one of the most prolific and adventurous outfits currently operating on metal’s bleeding edge.