A horrible hack

Nadja - Galena


Year Released: 2011
Format: LP
Label: Adagio830
Reviewed by Alex Deller on Feb 11, 2012
As with the similarly-prolific likes of Boris, Sunn O))) and Coffins, there came a tipping point with Nadja where enough was enough and I had to step back and have a rest from it all. The splits, collaborations, solo releases and whatever else came so thick and fast that you either listened to nothing but or quickly burned out, so it seemed safer to draw a line under whichever release it was that fell through the letterbox last and forget they existed for a while. This, then, released to coincide with last year's double-headered European tour, is perhaps the first Nadja-affiliated release I've heard in some 18 months and sees them teaming up with another two-piece: Californian dark ambient project Galena. The results, it has to be said, are a bit mixed. Side A sounds somewhat disjointed and rarely seems to hit its full stride, Nadja's thundercloud drones seeping through vague layers of keys and occasionally brushing uncomfortably up against moments of ill-placed dissonance in such a way that the different component parts seem all too separate from each other, as if each act is too focused on their own sounds to figure out how they should all mesh together. The second side, however, works a whole lot better. Things build slowly and subtly from graceful drones to a metronomic click and into a mechanically-driven bass surge that becomes more and more festooned with shining synth glimmers as it progresses. This one right here could easily last an hour or so without my interest waning, and while it's a touch churlish to complain now that the two duos have finally built up a good head of steam it still has to be said: I just wish they'd struck upon this wonderful alchemy earlier.

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