Sector 2814

Posted in Uncategorized by Mogo on March 24, 2007

Nadja – “Touched”: another one of those increasingly rare cases of good music showing up on Pitchfork, though it didn’t surprise me to learn that I already had a passing familiarity with Nadja. to wit: they are from Toronto. their guitarist Aidan Baker is a known in figure T-Dot’s ambient/drone/noise scenes and this is where I recognize him from: he recently contributed to a split release between himself and longstanding southern-Ontario experimental mastermind The Infant Cycle (who also happens to be an old friend of mine). I had no idea that Baker was also in a doom band, but here we are. Pitchfork’s review draws inevitable comparisons to Justin Broadrick‘s stable of projects over the years, the most obvious being Godflesh and Jesu and to be fair, the comparisons aren’t entirely off point. where Nadja differs most is perhaps in the fidelity of the actual recording – intentional glitches at the end of the final track suggest that the production style is quite deliberate and it works in favor of the music, since the wall of guitar becomes that much thicker because of it. recent trends and the acceptance of “doom metal” in other circles thanks to the success of Sunn 0))) have seen many artists who might have previously shied away from anything “metal” trying their hand at it in their own “arm’s length” way – if projects like Nadja are the result of that, then it’s a win-win for everyone. recommended.

Starving Weirdos – s/t: with over two hours of sound here, there’s plenty to sink into with one of the first enjoyable “experimental” listening experiences I’ve had in a while (aside from The Infant Cycle of course, though to be fair there’s little to compare between the two). although they are apparently often compared to and viewed as contemporaries of other current “nu-drone” artists like Sunburned Hand of the Man, Starving Weirdos come across like they’ve done some homework and realize that their “genre” didn’t just spring into existence a few years ago. there’s a discernable deliberation to the proceedings here, which makes it apparent that the sound sources used in these relatively free-form pieces weren’t just picked at random; and that they did not just press record and start making noise. various forms of percussion rear their heads and plenty of droning sources that range from feedback to what sounds like scraped/bowed metal or heavily processed string instruments… the best thing about these pieces is that they’re so well crafted that not only is it difficult to tell what the sound sources might be, but that the work itself is captivating enough to take one’s mind off of even trying to figure it out in the first place. I’m reminded more than a little of Morphogenesis‘ “Solarisation” disc here – a huge compliment considering that it’s one of my favorite experimental/drone recordings ever. at the end of the day there’s not even a lot in common between the two, aside from what seems to be a greater emphasis on organic rather than electronic sound sources – what they have in common is that those sounds form a cohesive and enjoyable end result that is far above what many of their contemporaries achieve with similar efforts.

 T.I.T.S. – “Throughout the Ages”/Leopard Leg – “The Seven Sistered Sea-Secret of Shh Shh Shh” split dbl LP: this could essentially be two separate releases but for the fact that the label putting them out (Upset the Rhythm) saw fit to release them together. the label claims that some greater philosophies unify these two bands who’ve apparently never met each other, but about the only thing they have in common is that every member of both groups is a woman.

 so, let’s start with T.I.T.S.: aside from having the best band name ever – “hey whatcha listening to?” “tits!” 😉 – they might actually beone of the best bands ever. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much – they seriously take pretty much every musical style I’m enjoying right now and throw it into a blender of awesome. some of the drumming and the consistently distorted bass bring a slight metal-by-way-of-Melvins vibe to the proceedings, while there are hints of prog (in structure if not in wankery) on the 11+ minute “Lovely Home” and of no-wave on more concise songs like “Lady Whispers” or “Math”. in some ways it seems like what the Shaggs or the Slits might have been had they come into existence in today’s musical climate, with more than a modern-day hint of Afrirampo at the same time. simply awesome. I mean it: after three listens I’m ready to declare them a favorite band.

and then there’s Leopard Leg: the comparison between the two is apples and bowling balls, so in my mind there’s no contextual point in even discussing the two groups together. Leopard Leg operate in a decidedly different sonic world – 10 members, at least 8 of which are on percussion and the remainder of whom do tapes and other noise-making. these two side-long tracks both have an eerie, drug-addled-swamp-wandering vibe to them. cut very much from an experimental/improv (I hesitate to say drone, but…) cloth, Leopard Leg prove to be standouts in that arena as well. pretty much the only reason I’m not raving about them as much as I am because they’re operating in a sonic realm that – while I do enjoy it – is simply lower on the totem pole of my own preferences. 

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  1. thordora said,

    you liking a band named T.I.T.S. Go figure. 😛

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