Nadeshda/Dead Hawk – Split 2018 (Epileptic Media)
This split release from Lintz, Austria’s Nadeshda and Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Dead Hawk offers fans of zero beat droning and noise experimentation quite a bit to enjoy. Nadeshda claims the first six tracks here, while Dead Hawk delivers the seventh, a 27 minute epic entitled “Hypervelocity Star.” I would say it eventually explodes into a supernova of white noise, but I’m more inclined to dub it “black noise.” It’s definitely not something you’re going to drift off to. There is vocal droning mixed in with what sounds like the aftermath of an atom bomb going off that shifts in violent, exploding sheets of excruciating noise. Feedback, distorted piano notes and pure, fuzzed-out and overloaded electric sound will vibrate every bone in your body to a pulp. I like it a lot. It’s as if Lou Reed’s classic Metal Machine Music grew an extra set of balls and destroyed Manhattan. Plug in the headphones and feel your future slide into a black hole.
(Dead Hawk performing at Selner Bros Music, Kalamazoo, MI)
Nadeshda’s portion of this release veers between the light and the dark. The opening track, “[I OWE YOU EVERYTHING]” features a never-ending downward drone while echo-laden plucked guitar strings shift back and forth in the stereo mix. It gets a bit menacing as it goes on. The guitar strings morph into a percussive beat at the end and what sounds like tolling bells fade away.
The second track, “GROWLING LOW OF DARK SECRET PLACES” at first sounds like a lost moment from Bowie’s Low or “Heroes” before evolving into a simple and pretty guitar piece. More sustained echo gives the impression of a desolate or hopeful landscape, I’m not sure which, but I dig the split personality of the groove. Then, on “THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT” we are treated to a great mix of field recordings and distorted guitars before shifting into a darker drone for the second half.
The remaining three tracks mine similar territory, bringing to mind Eno’s Music for Airports at times while just being tinged a bit darker around the edges. It’s perfect stuff to contemplate the universe to. Another great headphone excursion. Separately, these two halves would have each made excellent standalone releases, but taken together, the listener gets a damned fine darkly beautiful and punishing experience. Get it while it’s hot.
– Jason Thompson
Available as a digital download from Epileptic Media. (https://epilepticmedia.bandcamp.com/album/split-2018)