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Apocalyptic Blues

Nadja & Vampillia Collaboration LP
/ımpəˈfɛkʃ(ə)n/ Review + Full Stream

/ımpəˈfɛkʃ(ə)n/ (the phonetic spelling of ‘imperfection’) is Nadja‘s second collaboration with Japan’s ‘brutal orchestra’ Vampillia, originally released as a limited tour-only CD for the two groups’ 2014 Japanese tour and now newly reissued on vinyl by Spain’s Throne Records. An expansive inversion to their earlier team effort, the dense forest drone Primitive World, imperfection is open – supra-terrestrial, vast spaces of enveloping, expanding. Hollow hallways that go on forever, desert highways at night, how even the lowest of outer space is still just out of reach, even on top of mountains. Seamlessly fitting in to both bands’ catalogs while expanding and expounding on both of their individual styles and their ‘Third Mind’ collaboration, this record sees Vampillia fulfilling a more straightforwardly symphonic role while Nadja lay off the overt doom influences for a more subdued, ambient sound. V’s tendencies toward spastic near-Bungle shifts (they are a Boredoms project, after all) makes this orchestral maneuver in the dark all the more surprising and intriguing, and blends a mesmerizing, sparkling blur above the glacial drag of Nadja’s gloom-wielding rhythm section. The first of the two tracks, “Imperfect Worlds,” marches a slow, sullen groove through a culled-from-the-ashes-of-Coil “negatively uplifting” melody that continually wobbles between menacing and cradling, comforting. The kind of tune you could fall asleep to, if it weren’t for the dreams….it reaches a crescendo at around 16 minutes, swelling and reaching out at satisfactory conclusion but reaches just to the south, twisting our expectations of resolution into a strange but endearing, awkwardly-off crystalline staccato fadeout.
Pick up the LP here.
This is more than simply a great mashup – the two bands mesh well enough to dissolve their boundaries. Nadja and the members of Vampillia alike have an impressive pedigree of evolution, eclecticism, experimentation, and radical departures from even their own script between them, and this record is no exception. Managing the monumental task of continually being fresh in a genre that breeds repetition like a particularly contagious plague, they have opted for an approach to the work wherein the experimentation is turned inward and becomes a meditation, an inner expansion to encompass the outer and growing larger with every release. Walking a fine line between sounds of isolation and separation and thick enveloping harmonic hums, huge howling tectonic rumbles under pristine, glasslike harmonies of chiming ice, whispers swell to moans and back. “Neuprimitive” is the bleaker of the two, a 24 minute dirge, a too-nostalgic look back at something lost forever, but dreamed of fiercely – the anger of its distance occasionally threatening to seethe out of the low end before finally building into sawblade monolith architecture. The pulsating drone coalesces into an unsettling void, where we are abandoned as the end comes suddenly. This is too musical for a Sunn, too bleak for a Naam or Earthless. Contemplative without being shoegazery, interstellar without being spaced out, crushing without being aggressive – like having a collapsed lung amidst fresh ocean air. This is heavy in the way the hippies used the word – meaning it requires effort to absorb – and yet it sounds effortless like a gust of wind that pushes the fire out of control, or like the indifference of a tidal wave drowning a weak swimmer.
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