Nadja are a chameleonic entity, shifting from droning doom and ambient noise without even a flinch. They are also ludicrously prolific, with over 20 full lengths in a 14 year career, not to mention a vast collection of splits, EPs and collaborations in that time. Duo Aiden Baker and Leah Buckareff have been responsible for some of experimental music’s most interesting pieces under the Nadja banner, not least my favourite release by them, 2008’s superlative ‘Desire in Uneasiness’. Their newest release is the one track, forty minute ‘Sv’, which looks to continue their legacy as musical pioneers.
The track, ‘Sievert’, is a hypnotic exploration of music as sound, rather than just catchy tunes or riffs. It begins as an oppressive hum, a latent buzzing with the merest hints of sound penetrating the wall. An ambient, almost droning melody line builds in the hum, slowly coming to the fore around the 7 minute mark. The delicate cymbal tapping becomes your only focal point as the swirling drones envelop you.
Hold onto that focal point, because it would be easy to drift away into the oppressive fog that ‘Sievert’ becomes. More and more distortion creeps into the waves of sound, while you at last begin to feel a doom vibe creeping into the ambience. It feels like a humid summer evening, dark and oppressive while insects buzz incessantly. You have a feeling of being engulfed, trapped within the air itself.
By the time you’ve sat and experienced the full forty minutes, you feel drained but yet oddly satisfied. It is by no means an easy listen, but the layers and textures that Nadja apply to ‘Sv’ make it worth your time. Droning ambience that is definitely worth your time.