Kult Reviews: NADJA – Bliss Torn From Emptiness
When I first learned that Nadja’s Bliss Torn From Emptiness was a three-song CD that clocked in at fifty-three minutes and eleven seconds, I was intrigued. Since Nadja’s 2003 formation, the Toronto-based ambient/shoegaze metal duo, made up of multi-instrumentalist Aiden Baker and bassist Leah Buckareff, has been creating increasingly heady, epic and swirling dirges, and I was ready to check out this latest installment—which was originally available several years ago as an extremely limited one-track CDR and recently received a lavish eight-panel digipak re-release by Profound Lore Records.
If you’re planning to listen to Bliss be sure to set aside at least an hour for the experience. My first attempt at it came while driving my car on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. But the mounting tension of being stuck in traffic quickly proved to me that this wasn’t the proper theater in which to listen to this record. Bliss is not the kind of record that you give a casual listen to. In fact, “listening” is not even the correct term for what you must do with a Nadja record. In fact, it’s much closer to “absorbing.”
My second attempt at Bliss happened after I got home from my drive on the BQE. I put in the CD, pumped the stereo’s volume, turned out the lights and then positioned myself on my back in the middle of my floor. Just as I began contemplating the ceiling, the myriad molecules that comprise concrete and steel, and all the infinitesimal space between matter… Just then, as inline with some perfect cosmic cue, the opening synth of “Part 1” began to emerge.
Leah Buckareff & Aiden Baker get blurry.
The room was dark except for the amber streetlights, and the throbbing keyboard swells led me through caverns of feedback as mechanical drum programs steadily kept the cadence. It was the music of the spheres; music to witness worlds collide only to give birth to stranger, more beautiful landscapes.
The experience of listening to Bliss is like being packed away in a sensory deprivation tank: your mind slowly begins to form its own interpretations of this record’s strange, stunning emanations. You can practically feel the weight of the atmosphere closing around you. Amidst all of this wooly noise and drum machine intensity, the core of Bliss Torn From Emptiness emerges: an intangible beauty, existing just out of focus and barely detectable.
Buy this and give it to someone you love. Expand their mind. — Mike Hill