Nadja - Desire In Uneasiness [Crucial Blast - 2008]Aidan Baker is one busy individual. In just the last year, he's released a prodigious number of recordings, both on his own, as well as collaborations. Nadja, up until now, have operated as a duo, but for this release, they've added Jakob Thiesen (so I have read, though he's not credited on the sleeve) on drums. Leah Buckareff handles bass and vocals, and Baker takes on guitars, vocals, strings, woodwinds and drum programming. The new wrinkle for Desire in Uneasiness is clearly the "real drums".
Nadja regularly draw comparisons to Godflesh, for good reason. They have a similar aesthetic, in that they employ bass heavy distortion and neo-industrial sounds within their jams. But Nadja are more than imitators; they stretch out in more ambient directions, and they're way more loose limbed than Godflesh. At times, the wandering and intertwining bass patterns remind of OM's John McLaughlin-esque explorations. The background ambience comes most often in the form of distorted, epic drones, possibly sourced from guitar.
What's interesting about Nadja, is that, for a self professed "doom" project, they often create beautiful music underneath the murk. There's a psychedelic element to Nadja as well, and it's fairly pronounced this time around. It is in this arena that the drums really make their mark. The doomy, pummeling passages are great, but honestly the drums don't have too much impact in comparison to the programmed drums of their past albums. That's because, out of necessity, they're somewhat metronomic. But the drums provide a means for Nadja to expand, branching out in more natural directions, and that's where the band really shines. Some of the longer jams sound (and I mean this respectfully) like Bless it's Pointed Little Head era Jefferson Airplane, if they downtuned all the guitars, and buried everything beneath a subterranean noise drone.
Desire in Easiness from front to back is an enjoyable listen. It takes all of the aforementioned ideas and assembles them as a narrative. And though it's certainly crushing, it's not numbing. There's plenty of variety to be found, and there's a restlessness to this music which keep you entranced. Undoubtedly Nadja's followers will mark this as one of their better efforts. It also makes an excellent entry point for newcomers. Erwin Michelfelder