Nadja - Autopergamene [Essence - 2010]An autopergamene is, allegedly, “a spell or charm wherein you write in blood, on a fragment of skin, what you wish to happen”. Hence the track titles, “You Write Your Name In My Skin”, “You Write Your Name In My Head”, “You Write My Name In Your Blood”—okay, now I’m wondering what kind of spell is being invoked here. Can’t be anything good with all that viscera being used as the parchment.
After some research I turned up a bit of information about this Canadian duo, made up of one Aidan Baker and one Leak Buckareff, making music somewhat in the same drone-metal vein as folks like Sunn O))). They lay down the drone, but it’s not just a drone—it’s a bunch of layers, different textures, that interpenetrate and complement each other. Imagine something like a cinematic 7-minute epic track (my choice: “Love, Hate (Slugbaiting” from Godflesh) from a band you love, but timestretched out to half an hour: that’s what the first and third songs on this disc sound like. There’s structure—songwriting, even—but it happens on such a long timescale and with such subtlety of change that you barely notice it.
Even the “short” song sandwiched between the two “long” songs is like that, a chugging seething beast of white noise and amphiteatrical echo that makes you feel like you’re attending the last concert on earth. Plus, the layers they use aren’t always monochromatic washes of noise: there’s acoustic guitar, gentle singing, and what I assumed at one point was bowed instruments but is probably just more guitars … but hey, it’s the variety that counts. File this one next to your Godspeed You Black Emperor! discs and watch them fight each other for supremacy. It’s not clear who’ll win, if you ask me.Serdar Yegulalp