Nadja - Skin Turns to Glass
The End Records
Ambient Drone
4 songs (79'55")
Release year: 2008
The End Records
Reviewed by Alex

The biggest misconception about the atmospheric drone style of music is that it is easy to create. Given the right amount of electronics and computers anyone should be able to generate endless repetitive sounds. Yeah, you try it, mindless cacophony being the only likely outcome. I may not be your resident drone expert, so that can explain why I can only get through what I call “premier” records, but Canadian duo Nadja very unexpectedly captured me with their Profound Lore re-release of Bodycage back in 2006. If anything, listening to that album made me search and learn about a terrible genetic disorder called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. Imagine your soft tissue turn to bones due to the excessive amount of calcification your organism produces, the whole body becoming a rigid frame.

Bodycage was my short and only glimpse into Nadja’s body of work, but The End Records is on their way to change this having signed Nadja as a part of them forming a steady roster of very eclectic and experimental acts.

One of the untitled tracks on the Profound Lore re-release of Bodycage was Sandskin, but honestly it made less of an impression on me then, the Bodycage trilogy being such a complete and powerful story. On Skin Turns to Glass Sandskin opens the fore and sets the tone. From an orchestral pit, pulsating and pregnant with anticipation, the composition changes halfway from shapeless fuzz to a steady, rolling and pressing squeeze.

The use of vocals on Skin Turns to Glass is just as scarce as on Bodycage, so the listener is given all kinds of room to project his/her own images. In my mind, Sandskin is dense and ominous with its banging steady rhythms, foreshadowing the catastrophe. The title track, on the opposite, is sunlit, ethereal, quiet and dreamy, with guitars and multiple synth layers being almost unexpectedly clear and cymbals providing the only rhythmic references. The closer Slow Loss, perhaps the most powerful track of the trio, is sinister and almost hurtful in the beginning, developing a crushing and funeral oppressive melody as it unfolds.

Nadja’s music requires utmost patience and the right circumstance to click. I had the album on twice, while trying to concentrate on a specific task. Although ambient and atmospheric, Skin Turns to Glass did not work for me at all as a background music. On the other hand, driving on the beautiful sunny morning for an hour, before hitting the first cup of coffee, being still tired from the previous day of hard work and night short on sleep, the record provided for a feeling of light trance, the eyes fixed on the road in front of me, comprehending little the sense of the surroundings. And as the ride lasted long enough, another untitled track closing the CD took me from the white noise, warm waves akin to the “nature sounds” alarm clock through the static to the explosion of double bass, dissonance, electro pop dance beat and even blast. That surely jerked me back to the reality, in 2 min destroying the dreams so meticulously built over the previous 70+ min.

Killing Songs :
Slow Loss
Alex quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Nadja that we have reviewed:
Nadja - Bodycage reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
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