Nadja
Dagdrøm


4.5
superb

Review

by hesperus USER (2 Reviews)
September 19th, 2012 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nadja pull a few tricks from their sleeves to create the best album of their career.

For a while, Nadja's future seemed a tad uncertain. In their earlier years, they had always found ways to make their particular brand of ambient doomgaze drone metal fresh and exciting with each new album, ultimately culminating in two of their best releases in 2008: the blissfully calm Desire in Uneasiness and the heartbreakingly emotive The Bungled & the Botched. Then, in 2009, they started to go downhill. Their excellent contribution to a split with A Storm of Light and their phenomenal work on the Pyramids with Nadja collaboration were undoubtedly impressive, but they were matched by a confused effort at a Times of Grace-esque double album and an equally baffling cover album. But if they were inconsistent in 2009, then in 2010 they were downright disappointing. Autopergamene, for example, tried to be fresh and exciting but came off as abrasive and off-putting instead. Granted, most of these disappointing albums were not bad, per se; in fact, they were quite intriguing, if only because Nadja was experimenting, as they should, trying to figure out what worked and what didn't. But for those two years, a tad too many of those efforts just didn't, and they begged the question, has Nadja lost their touch? Finally, over two years later, Dagdrøm answered: Hell. No.

While Dagdrøm is undoubtedly a Nadja album, with its ethereal, swirling guitars and its plodding rhythms like an elephant traversing the savannah, the album also showcases several points of growth for the band. The most obvious change to Nadja's sound is the addition of live drums courtesy of Mac McNeilly of The Jesus Lizard. On previous albums, Nadja had used a drum machine, which worked well enough for their purposes, but McNeilly's drumming adds an entirely new dimension to the sound. The beats suddenly seem more natural, and as a result, so does the progression of the music as a whole. McNeilly also seems more comfortable experimenting and taking risks with the drum beats, resulting in one of the most interesting Nadja tracks to date, "Space Time & Absence," the opening beat of which would fit perfectly in an early Neurosis song.

However, Mac's contributions are far from the only change Nadja have made to their sound. Perhaps the best example of the new sound is the second track, "Falling Out of Your Head." The track begins, not with the trademark Nadja opening of ambient swirls of guitar feedback, but with a simple, intimate bass riff. The more dreamlike aspects of the music enter later, and the track (and the album) as a whole is still very dreamy, but as the bass riff demonstrates, the dream is now more vivid and more immediate, and ultimately it has much more of an impact on the listener. Nadja also, for perhaps the first time, shows a willingness to step outside their typical tempo boundaries--although it might be more accurate to say that they crash right through those boundaries. About halfway through "Falling Out of Your Head," the plodding-elephant beat suddenly transforms into a rhythm that rollicks along at the speed of a charging rhinoceros. The shift is so sudden and so unexpected that it is likely to fly right over the listener's head upon first hearing it.

Dagdrøm is full of similar gems, risks and experiments that not only work, but work phenomenally. And ultimately, this album must have been what all the disappointments of 2009 and 2010 were leading up to. After all, the creative process is bound to be filled with missteps. But Nadja have done a great job of identifying those missteps, learning from them, and improving. Thus, Dagdrøm sounds less like experimentation and much more like evolution.


user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
hesperus
September 19th 2012


185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Stream the album here: http://nadja.bandcamp.com/album/dagdr-m

cb123
September 19th 2012


2021 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds like a pretty intriguing listen, working my way through some of their older stuff at the moment

FelixCulpa
September 19th 2012


1240 Comments


Strange to see it called "Dagdrøm" (Which is danish, norwegian and swedish for daydream) when the band (From what I gather) are German. This is sounding pretty cool.

Rail
September 19th 2012


533 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Woah, high praise indeed. Looking forward to listening to this.

Digging: Phaeleh - A World Without

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2012


16137 Comments


Well, they were certainly back on the right track with that Vampillia collabo, but I strongly doubt this is the best thing they've done.

carouse
September 19th 2012


302 Comments


Really need to hear this if it touches Touched in any way.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2012


18514 Comments


i doubt this is better than the vampillia collab

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

hesperus
September 19th 2012


185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Felix: The band is actually Canadian and English-speaking. If you're referring to their name, they got it by spelling Aidan Baker's first name backwards and throwing a "j" in there.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2012


16137 Comments


This is pretty good. Probably the best thing they've put out individually since TB&TB, if nothing else.

BallsToTheWall
September 19th 2012


44472 Comments


Sweet

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

MO
September 19th 2012


18754 Comments


sweet indeed must listen

FelixCulpa
September 20th 2012


1240 Comments


Ohh okay. There was a tag on their bandcamp named "Berlin" which made me think that. But I really wasn't sure if it actually meant anything.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2012


16137 Comments


Baker currently resides in Berlin, if I'm not mistaken.

hesperus
September 20th 2012


185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It would explain why they tour in Europe more often than America.

Butkuiss
September 20th 2012


4199 Comments


Nothing will beat Touched or Bodycaged. Still have to give this a listen; Nadja are one of the few bands whose extensive discographies I love.

Probably because Aidan still only has one albums' worth of riffs in his entire discography.

mindleviticus
September 23rd 2012


8237 Comments


The split they did with Ovo is fucking amazing The Life and Death of a Wasp

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

kitsch
September 23rd 2012


5107 Comments


can someone up this for me preeeeee

hesperus
September 23rd 2012


185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Life and Death of a Wasp was interesting, but it was a little too off-putting for me.

Wizard
November 1st 2012


19437 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Touched is wayyyyy better than anything in their discog.

Digging: Nightbringer - Ego Dominus Tuus

MichaelSnoxall
November 1st 2012


12163 Comments


Their best is The Bungled and the Botched, agreed.



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