Released: 2007, Alien8 Recordings
Rerecorded 2003 album
The character Nadja is the obsessional presence/female apparition created by Andre Breton in his 1928 surrealist masterwork – “Nadja.” She is a lesbian Parisian…not even so much a real person as a behavioral cathexis or, perhaps, a state of mind. She is the exploration of sexuality in an unparalleled manner (save Antonin Artaud’s “Heliogabalus”). If Nadja (artist) is an exploration of sexuality…Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff couldn’t have emerged with a more apposite appellation.
TOUCHED stages the perversities and instabilities inherent in placing absolutes among the erotic / thanatotic relation. Where most sexually explorative metal projects allegorize a seemingly monstrous mirror-image of procreation –– Nadja, conversely, plumbs the actual erotic and existential epiphany with a dignity lost on most of their down-tuned gore-obsessed brethren. Soundscapes depart from the death/cock rock territory with a valorization of absolute sovereignty, in the power wielded from one subject over another…lyrics can help to illustrate (from “Incubation / Metamorphosis”): “beneath your hands, within your hands, as you spin your skein, shuttle my skin, shatter my spine …&… intoxicated – toxic – I burst out the end of your fingers like a thousand blind larvae” – A violent spectacle. And this is the aesthetic modality of Nadja – purposeful sexuality set sonically on the board of a dream-like callous drone (shoegazer metal).
There’s nothing truly harsh (compared to most other drone bands) or concrete about TOUCHED. The album more or less floats on an indefinite abyss…somewhere between an echo and physical passion. Nevertheless, it can be solidified as a project akin to Earth or Boris – but with an even more ambient / industrial edge (guitars = wall of sound – synths give purpose – drums are vast). The vocals are peculiar in that they are gently submerged – undistorted, in key, and rather brilliant from a lyrical stand point.
TOUCHED is the architecture of the sexual experience. An abstract narrative on the erotic occurrence – beautiful yet cruel. Nadja could be one of the most daring / forward thinking artists on the planet right now. Andre Breton would be thoroughly proud (if he didn’t hate rock and roll so much RIP).
Conclusion: Killer album.
For those looking to get into drone projects but were turned away by the harshness of Sunn O))) …give Nadja a spin.