Atavist / Nadja – II: Points at Infinity
Speaking of collaborations, Atavist's first one with Nadja, last year's 12012291920/1414101, was copacetic, with spooked melodies yielding to menacing death rattles. But it begged the question: would two of the heaviest bands around get together to drop the hammer? II: Points at Infinity (Profound Lore/Invada, 2008) answers with a doomingly resounding yes. Like the first collaboration, this one has two tracks, each about 22 minutes long. The first glides on surprisingly naked chords, with Thom Yorke-esque crooning way in the back. But the second is the money shot. It drops the boom pretty much straight off, plodding through big, melodic chords that darken into a churning undertow and shards of feedback. Then it pulls back, the smoke lifting to reveal scorched earth. It's a dynamic journey that finds the bands willing to bloody their hands; their previous collaboration had a whiff of not wanting to step on toes.
Actually, they've never been in close enough proximity to step on toes. Aidan Baker from Najda says:
Both collaborations were done remotely, trading files through the mail or over the Internet. The first collab Atavist had finished their tracks and wanted an ambient artist to add some textural tracks, which Leah and I did (using guitar and bass). The second we reversed the process and Leah and I recorded some structured (albeit loosely) guitar/bass tracks to which Atavist added guitar/bass, vocals, and drums.
Atavist's Chris Naughton adds:
We recorded parts and sent them backwards and forwards to check the mixes etc. We've never been in the same room, or even physically met, but we are touring together in November in the UK, so all will change.
That's something to look forward to. It's interesting to hear band collaborations so different from their individual discographies. This pairing feels exposed and accommodating; by themselves, the bands are often overpowering. The live setting may retain that - or the bands could go for each other's throats.