Aqua Dentata: Neko Baader-Meinhof

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Fencing flatworm CD-r

Pure, opalescent drones from an artist who has continually refined his practice until it reaches a monk-like asceticism. Here all extraneous material is ruthlessly excised, leaving only these scorching, ultra-bright tones that drill out into the dark like the shining beams of a lighthouse. There’s often an unnerving simplicity to Aqua Dentata’s artistry that belies the focus and concentration going into its creation. It takes a lot of hard work to make something this simple, a gargantuan effort for something that seems so effortlessly, so essentially itself. Yet these are, I think, works of art, pieces of such great abstraction they could hold the universe within them. Like a Malevich square or a Barnett Newman stripe, they seem to be almost limitless in the meanings they could absorb, yet they are completely without meaning as well, in the best possible way.

Neko Baader-Meinhof is issued on Fencing Flatworm records, the label run by Rob Hayler of Radio Free Midwich fame. Its release is Nuttall’s prize for winning RFM’s album of the year award for 2014 for his stunning The Cygnet Procambarus. I can attest to the majesty of that record (have a gander at my review here) and I’m overjoyed that Neko Baader-Meinhof is at least the equal of this beautiful beast.

There are just three tracks, although Nuttall adds some pleasing ambiguity by adding a numbered list of 23 phrases to the otherwise utilitarian cover art. These phrases are unrelated to what’s going on sonically, apparently, and are placed here to encourage allusive flights of fancy from listeners. Which is nice, although personally anything that shifts attention from the absolute Zen focus of the soundworks herein is a bit of a distraction. The trio of pieces here resemble pocket universes, completely separate from our own existence, with their own sets of laws and principles. At times they seem as pure as light with an almost incomprehensible simplicity. At others, the interlocking pulsations and overtones seem as complex as the designs on a Celtic cross. The slow phases and multi-layered throbs are outside time and space but they are also utterly compelling and immersive. The world really does seem to stop when you listen to them, like watching a river of liquid silver flowing slowly past.

The fact of the matter is that there are no facts about this release that will come anywhere near the experience of it. Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream. This is the power within the drone. A sonic baptism, if you will. Immerse yourselves now.

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The album is sold out, unfortunately but you can read more about it here.

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