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Njiqahdda – “Clouds Upon The Sanctuary” (EP Premiere)

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Assuming one’s willingness to accept the idea of music as art—which, frankly, doesn’t take that great a leap in logic—then it does seem a bit odd that the music and art worlds don’t share more of a vocabulary. For example, expressionism provides a perfect lens through which to consider Clouds Upon the Sanctuary, the new EP from the prolific, virtually unclassifiable American duo Njiqahdda. Most closely associated with the work of Edvard Munch of The Scream fame, expressionists strove to depict subjective emotional states in their work instead of objectively portraying reality. Ultimately, these artists were more interested in evoking certain moods and feelings from their audience than appealing to the viewer’s sense of aesthetics.

Njiqahdda—whose name translates as ‘Disciple of Truth’ in a language of their own devising-have one foot firmly planted in the realm of black metal, but they augment that sound with elements of atmospheric post-metal, psychedelic rock, progressive metal, ambient music, and field recordings. Their music has the same expansive, richly textured qualities as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but there’s also a meditative element to it similar to Neurosis at their most searching. In fact, the EP’s nearly 15-minute instrumental closing track sounds like it could have fit on Times of Grace. The other three tracks temper their more aggressive tendencies with warm, inviting guitar and drum tones, almost jazzy bass lines, and melodic keyboard accents, all of which work in concert to yield music that demands to be engaged with on an emotional level and not simply heard.

-Clayton Michaels

Clouds Upon the Sanctuary, which we are streaming below, will be available on June 17 via EEE Recordings. It can be preordered on CD at this location.

At present, Njiqahdda have no social media presence or official website.

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