Heathen Harvest (review by Lord Lycan :: May 1, 2007) :: Visit their site here
I truly believe that Equation Records is the most beautiful, brilliant, and
wonderful label out there today out of any genre. A mere 15 releases into their
cause, they are still not only producing some of the highest quality releases to
be found in Post-rock, Ambient, and Drone, but also do absolutely everything
they can to make these releases special and promote their artists. I wish to the
pagan gods that Equation Records released the type of music in which my personal
band creates, because they would certainly be my first choice in label. First of
all, there's the high quality glossy gatefold that the 2X LP is encased in.
Thick, smooth, and beautiful, it beats the pants off traditional cardboard
sleeves, and I am proud to say that Equation seems to do this with all of their
releases. Then there's the actual press sheet (something I get surprisingly
little of from labels). It's not only well-organized and high-quality, but also
very informative and doesn't just ramble on about nothing that wouldn't help the
reviewer out. Journalists appreciate this little piece of paper more than most
people would ever realize. Then there's a special printed piece of paper
explaining Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, as well as the hand-numbered
unit in which your copy is. Even the catalogue sheet is unique in style and
shape. To me though, the thing that put this release over the top was the
explanation in the reason behind "spurious characters and typographical errors
found in the small essay and lyrics on the inside-right panel of the gatefold
sleeve". This explanation is printed on high quality glossy paper, and not only
makes you aware of the problem before you find it yourself, but also states the
corrections on the back of the paper. Most labels would just not give a shit at
this point and let it go and hope no one really notices or cares. But Equation
Records is dedicated to a higher quality of release. Only 300 copies exist of
this beautiful piece of work because of costs, which bothers me because such a
great label should be getting more business then it obviously is getting. I am
also pleased to say that I have received one of only seven promotional copies of
this album. So I think that I can say with some certainty that the admiration is
Having a paragraph that massive about just the label
and the production quality of the packaging should tell you that the music
itself is nearly flawless and incredible, but this is untrue. The music is not
nearly flawless. It IS flawless. This is, without a doubt, even while staring
directly into the face of competitors and even inventors of the genre like Earth
and Sunn O))), the best drone doom release ever to see the light of day as of
3:52 PM EST one April 20, 2007. While this release first saw the light of day in
2005 as a CD-R release, the music finds itself at its best via the vinyl medium.
This was the first in what was to be a collage of absolutely brilliant records
by Nadja (as their previous albums weren't too overwhelmingly spectacular), but
none of their future recordings ever matched the grace or overbearing bleakness
that derived from Bodycage. Bodycage is an absolutely crushing release, built
around a desperate melancholy that to this day is unmatched by any band that
attempts to steal the throne away from Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff. Bodycage
is about more than just music, more than just about emotion. This album is a
man's soul bled into drops of vinyl. Each of these 300 copies of the LP
represents a piece of Aidan's darkness, of the realm in his mind and heart that
no one can see but him. With Bodycage, he successfully did what so many other
emotional artists could only attempt to do in their long careers as musicians:
he literally became the music in which he was seeking to create. And what lays
before you now is one of the most fantastic works of art to ever grace this
planet. As a journalist, I feel almost unworthy to review this album because I
just cannot put into words how GOOD this music really is nor how it has touched
my soul in a way that I may never in fact comprehend. Bodycage for me was an
experience into myself, into Aidan, and back into reality.
If you are an intelligent human being, and you have ever liked any form of dark
slow music, you should immediately go to Equation Records website, and not only
buy but demand this release be repressed when all copies are gone. The world
deserves to hear this album on vinyl and a mere 300 copies, I assume, would
never be enough to satisfy the insatiable hunger that will hopefully hit because
of reviews like this one. So far, this is my album of the year 2007. It's only
April, but I don't see much topping this one. It's time to support truly
fantastic music, its time to support labels who actually give a shit about the
product in which they put out to the masses. Buy this album and support the
underground as these two actually deserve your hard-earned money, because if you
go and download this release, so help me god, you deserve have your skin ripped
off and be forced to roll around in salt for all eternity. Do not steal this
beautiful piece of art.
aQuarius recOrds (review of the Profound Lore CD version by Andee) :: Visit their site here
We have a friend who has become so obsessed with the work of Nadja and its mainman Aidan Baker, that he
spends way more time than is healthy trolling the internet looking of long lost 7"s and rare out of print
CDr's. It's easy to see why though. Baker's sonic explorations are as mesmerizing as they are ominous.
A truly unique musical voice in a suddenly way too crowded microniche. Call it doom. Or drone. Or dirge.
Or better yet deathdoomdronedirge. It's a sound we can't get enough of, the logical extension of our
obsession with the drone. And while we still love to drift off to the soft shimmer of a distant rumble,
when you imbue a drone with more power, and more volume, and more wattage it becomes something new, a
fearsome sonic beast, whether it's a subtly snarling growl of grit and grime, or a massive undulating wave
of black hole fury, a drone possessed of power becomes a glorious thing to behold. And no one has as deft a
hand with the drone than Baker, And Nadja is the ultimate drone via rock band. Beyond the ultra minimalism
of Sunn 0))), way prettier than the filthy dirges of Moss or Monarch, Nadja are almost like some indie
slowcore band but lit from within by some otherworldy source. Every track is suffused with a warm rich glow
that is almost blinding, but at the same time warm and inviting. It's heavy, sure, but it's more just plain
beautiful. Like staring into the sun until your eyes start playing tricks on you. Imagine listening to a
sound so loud, so bright, that the synapses in your brain misfire, and your ear scrambles to make sense of
this sound, and in doing so, forges all kinds of unlikely connections, subtle melodic threads, paints a lush
sonic portrait. Now imagine a music that was played to already sound like that, before it even got to you.
Just imagine what your mind and your ears would do with a sound like that. Some sort of unreachable aural
nirvana suddenly within reach. That's the music of Nadja. It's like watching a sunset slowed down so each
subtle shimmer stretches out forever, each ray of sunlight is tangled up with another, writhing in sparkling
glistening knots, slowly unraveling, stretching, into endless streaks of gorgeous muted color. Imagine Jesu,
but dosed to the gills on Prozac, a shiny happy Godfleshian dirge, or a My Bloody Valentine riff looped and
repeated forever, underpinned by some Can drum loop at 16 rpm, or a Teenage Filmstars 45 played at 33.
This is epic ultradoom metal, but with the metal replaced by soft billowy clouds of fuzzy distortion, the
howling fury twisted into dreamlike tranquility, the blasting beats pulled apart and sprinkled here and
there like percussive raindrops. This is as soft and pretty as a dirge-y drone can get while still
retaining its inherent doomic mass. Utter and absolute loveliness drenched in a thick patina of crushing
heaviness. Impossible but perfect.
Hellride Music (review by Chris Barnes of the Nothingness Records CDR :: June 24, 2005) :: Visit their site here
Keyrist, a symphony in three movements dedicated to what must be an agonizingly painful congenital disorder
with the exceptionally dire name of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva – a genetic malfunction which
causes muscle and connective tissue to ossify and essentially become a second, internal skeleton. Thus the
name of the work, Bodycage.
Nadja is the two man project from Toronto’s Adrian Baker and Leah Buckareff. Their work has crossed my desk
before in the form of the impressive 3” split with Brit tar pit terrapins Moss. And like that previous work,
Nadja specializes in the subtle to the sublime… barely discernable electronic washes driven hesitantly
forward by heroin-nod beats. Soon the wash becomes a tidal wave of undulating distortion eventually
dissipating into a primordial drone. Comparisons can be made to Boris and Sunn O))), but Nadja have more
going on, less tendency for the monotonous. There are also the harsh, claustrophobic elements of the duo
which can draw direct likening to noise warriors HALO as well.
Admittedly, it’s a harsh subject to address musically – the lyrics barely discernable but fully evident in
the accompanying booklet are especially damaging for those minds given to vivid imaginations. But, if
Nadja’s objective is to both challenge and inform musically, they can claim victory.
Brainwashed (review by Jon Whitney on the Profound Lore CD :: May 15, 2006) :: Visit their site here
Nadja is the heavy guitar-driven project between Aidan Baker and Leah Buckarell.
Listening to the overloaded intensity and slow, but forceful grit is like trying to stand firm while being
deluged with gigantic buckets of shockingly cold water.
Bodycage is their second release, originally sold as a CD-R which unsurprisingly quickly sold out.
This version on Profound Lore presents the original in its entirety plus two bonus (unlisted) pieces.
This isn't improvised noise or 20 minutes of drone, these are actual songs which just happen to open, build,
and decay over long periods of time. At its prettiest, Nadja's music is creepy enough to be a B-side from
an '80s group that was just uneasy enough to get cut from the LP and at its ugliest, the duo's music unfolds
like the score for a bloody horror film. Likewise, Bodycage plays out like a story.
The curtain rises at the end of the story, like one of those mysteries that opens with the end and then
works backwards to find out how everybody died or something. "Clinodactyl" begins the album with the buzzing
system hum of instruments plugged in. While it doesn't seem long until the drums begin and melody makes itself
known, it's actually been nearly 10 minutes of fuzz and distortion. Time passes remarkably quickly, which is
probably why their songs stretch the lengths they do, and by the time the song is in full swing—around the
12 minute mark—voices echo while Baker and Buckarell play a patient and gorgeous melody off each other.
It ends abruptly and some jagged guitar riffs make an almost seamless segue into "Autosomal," which is almost
like part two of the epic begun with "Clinodactyl." This song is a lot more violent and meanacing, with what
seems more like male vocals as opposed to what could have been female vocals from the first song. The vocals
are so distorted, distraught, and buried that it's almost impossible to tell. It builds and decays and there
is truly a break before the final part (of the original album).
"Ossification," the other +20 minute piece on the album is a return to the formula from the beginning: open
quiet, let it build about 10 minutes, add drums and begin melodic development. This one is more for the
dronesters than the tunemasters like myself. While I like it, the absence of a well-defined driving melody
simply doesn't take me to the levels during the climax of "Clinodactyl." The music essentially stops and the
effects play each other out until they decay into silence.
Decibel Magazine (review by Kory Grow on the Profound Lore CD) :: Visit their site here
Unless you're into Russian porn, don't forget "doom" when Googling Nadja
Nadja may be too smart for their own good. On this reissue of a limited CD-R, the Canadian duo has created a
three-part noise symphony about a rare congenital disease where bone forms in muscles, tendons, ligaments
and other connective tissues. Despite the heady subject, Bodycage drips pure emotion. In various spaces,
overdriven flute passages sweat out bittersweet confusion while a drum machine hammers out trance-inducing
tribal rhythms. And although technically it was originally released before last year’s stellar Truth Becomes
Death, which ostensibly retold the Jewish legend about the Golem of Prague, Bodycage surpasses that album in
The album is so moody, in fact, that it could easily double as claustrophobic soundtrack music to a David
Cronenberg film. The synths on “Ossification” warble between crisp static and minor chords the way only
collectives like Goblin have previously achieved. Between their music and the Derek Hess-homage album art,
they didn’t need to include lyrics that spell out the disease’s effects (“I feel the bones growing inside,
cutting off all movement”) to convey the inner fears that accompany the syndrome; it’s sweltering within the music.
Although Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick influence echoed throughout Truth Becomes Death, Bodycage sounds like
nothing else. Nadja’s unabashed love of atonal classical music beams (albeit dully) throughout, stressing
lack-of-form over function, making something normally scary into something wholly frightening. And while
it’s clear they’re fully aware of what they’re doing psychologically, the music really speaks—and feels—for itself.
maelstrom (review by Ignacio Coluccio on the Profound Lore CD) :: Visit their site here
Nadja has a rather strange background. Their appeareances on splits and the older releases were good at
best, so they went mostly unnoticed in the doom scene. Unexpectedly, they started releasing one masterpiece
after another, the first one being Bodycage, which has recently been re-released.
It'd be safe to say that Bodycage is the first metal album to really sound like what it's about. Bodycage's
theme and music go along perfectly. Its theme is about Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, an illness
which basically turns muscles and other tissues into bone so they seem like a cage, hence the title. The
three tracks found here are based on the same structure: they start with some low and almost undistorted
noises from the background with guitar feedback and droning riffs, then they are distorted over time,
creating the illusion of a soundcage to the initial sounds. While it might sound simple, in the actual music
it sounds majestic and absorbing. Based on this, Bodycage is one of the most serious drone full-lengths ever released.
Stylistically, Nadja is one part Boris At Last Feedbacker, one part Merzbow and Gerogerigegege None Friendly.
As a drone/noise band, atmosphere is central, and Nadja is quite good at it. The music's oppressive and
strong. The high usage of feedback is fundamental for Nadja's sound, even more than the actual riffs, making
for some really particular harmonies. The drum programming is highly effective. The guitars are another excuse
just to add both noise and atmosphere, but they sound incredibly good in context. In fact, easily the
highest point of the album is the clean guitar part at the start of "Ossification." The keyboards are quite
striking as well, mainly used to make the music feel complete. Then, the most important part in Bodycage is
the actual distortion and noises used, giving it an extreme and original texture.
As amazing as it is, Bodycage is not for everyone. Its long tracks (two 20-minute songs, one 10-minute song,
plus two bonus tracks from other albums) make it hard to listen to unless you have a lot of free time or just
love the genre. Also, no normal vocals are present, only background distorted vocals. Still, for the people
actually into this kind of stuff, it's worth gold. (9.4/10)
Profound Lore (their description of their CD issue of this release) :: Visit Profound Lore here
Finally unleashed, Canada’s most prominent drone/doom/experimental/ambient act Nadja’s
seminal "Bodycage" album. Originally released as a limited CDR output (and pretty much sold
out in immediately), Profound Lore is proud to bring even more awareness to this Canadian
artistic talent. Presenting an emotionally charged dronescape sear, Nadja’s brand of
ecclesiastically intense and moving music creates numbing feelings of desperation through
layers of thick sound, creating massive walls of mind-altering sonic manifestations.
To heighten the experience of "Bodycage" even further, said release is a concept album
surrounding a rare congenital disorder called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva,
a disease in which the body produces an extra skeleton that immobilizes the joints of the
body. For more info on this disease, please visit www.ifopa.org.
Nadja are Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff respectively. "Bodycage" is presented in a
cardboard CD jacket with a 4-panel insert, all housed in a transparent CD pocket sleeve.
Tracklisting for the Profound Lore "Bodycage" CD as follows:
- Clinodactyl (21:43)
- Autosomal (10:10)
- Ossification (20:42)