Bliss Torn from Awesomeness

Yeah, I know. That post title was brilliance. Want to know who else is brilliant? Aidan Baker. Although he doesn’t have the crossover name recognition like say, Campbell Kneale has; the truth is that Baker is a tremendous musician and a man that has rapidly grown in stature throughout the experimental music scene in the last eight years. Baker’s sludge/drone act Nadja carves its own niche through desolate Sabbathian dirges delivered with an elegiac beauty.

Baker, possessing the same infinite work ethic as his peers, has seen it fit to reissue his Nadja epic, Bliss Torn from Emptiness. But this is no minor reissue. Baker has taken the single track CD-R, and split and expanded it into three massive monuments of drone doom, encased in static and emitting sparks as they punch gaping holes into the clouds.

Part 1 is one half submerged guitar drone, and one half skin-burningly frozen sludge. Baker mixes up the percussion and layers his glacial riffs with a myriad of psychedelic sounds as the track moves toward its climax. Part 2 continues to lumber, reducing mammoth rocks into sediment with its calculatedly crushing impacts. The distortion-laden assault finally wavers halfway through the piece, giving way to lingering piano and vocal ambiance.

Part 3 carries this stillness well into its tenure, but builds steadily towards a cataclysmic finale that threatens to engulf the listener in a mind-melting torrent of psyche and drone. These intensely concentrated waves of sonic force encroach on the listener like a silhouetted hand reaching directly into the skull, slowly suffocating the brain in its grip until the last synapse has transmitted its final message.

Aidan Baker releases a new tape, CD-R, or album seemingly every week, but Nadja’s Bliss Torn From Emptiness is probably the strongest work I’ve heard from his already mind-bogglingly expansive catalogue. Unless you have appalling taste, I can think of no good reason to pass on this one. No, owning the original CD-R is not a good excuse. Can I count this in the running for album of the year 2008?

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~ by theoberlander on February 12, 2008.

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