An intercontinental collaboration where two worlds collide and celestial bodies are explored. Vestigial Spectra is as massive and unpredictable as its circumstances and thematic framework already suggest.
Thanks to Covid, unforeseen connections and file-sharing, we are able to experience, what it sounds like when huge entities approach each other, collide, merge and become one. Helsinki/Pennsylvania-based duo Fawn Limbs (chaotic and grindy Mathcore, founded 2017) and Berlin-based Canadian duo Nadja (experimental/atmospheric Drone Doom, active since 2002) have come together to create a unique fusion of their individual signatures, resulting in an entity that stands on its own.
We´re speaking of an amalgamation of Grindcore, dissonant mathy bludgeoning, Doom Metal, Drone, Noise, Ambient and atmospheric elements which creates a unique sonic landscape that challenges your expectations and immerses them in a world of ever-shifting textures, from bursts of maximal chaos to monolithic sludge to industrial ambiance. It ebbs and flows, keeps you steadily on your toes. A raw, dissonant and immersive musical journey of seven tracks and 40 minutes runtime.
Fittingly, the album explores the larger-than-life topic of astronomical spectroscopy - the study of astronomy using the techniques of spectroscopy to measure the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation of celestial objects to determine their properties – and its inherent relation to human nature.
We humans have an innate curiosity about the universe and a desire to understand our place within it. The exploration of space and the study of celestial objects reflect our natural inclination to explore, discover, and comprehend the world around us and astronomical spectroscopy is a manifestation of this inherent nature. By studying the properties of celestial objects through spectroscopy, we gain insights into the fundamental nature of the cosmos and our place within it. So let´s have a closer look on what revelations Vestigial Spectra has to offer:
”Isomerisch” is a term in chemistry describing the relationship between isomeric compounds, which have the same molecular formula but exhibit differences in their structural arrangement or properties. Same same, but different. The tiniest differences leading to friction, entropy, development, evolution, life. Brutally beautiful as (human) nature is, so is the album opener of the same name “Isomerisch”, setting the tone with its intense and dissonant soundscape. An industrial heartbeat with shards of noise leading to a menacing build-up, in a way reflecting the source of this collaboration.
Continuing the sonic exploration, “Black Body Radiation Curve”, delves deeper into the raw and primal aspects of their music and lets it loose. Converge -like mathcore hits you right from the start, lethal on the brink of chaos with high screams that tear at the fabric of life, while industrial-tinged blackened sludge is slowly being added to the mix. A sound similar to the most apocalyptic parts of a Rorcal track. Intense and relentless.
Third track “Cascading Entropy” tackles the topic of entropy, in the context of thermodynamics and information theory, a measure of the disorder or randomness in a system. In the context of the album you get a low-end heavy arythmical dirge with deep growls and a post-metal -like transition at the end of the track, framed by an industrial pulse on both ends.
“Redshifted” offers the drone-y excellence that Nadja is known for for the first time. Reminiscent of Sunn O))), feedback -layers are stacked upon each other until they fill every space around and in you. Accompanied by a mantric recitation, this wall of sound dissolves step-by-step into oblivion thereafter. It is moving away from us, as the term redshifted refers to a phenomenon in which the spectrum of light from a celestial object is shifted towards longer wavelengths, typically towards the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum. With “Blueshifted” the album takes a more atmospheric turn. This instrumental track explores ambient industrial textures, creating a sense of vastness and cosmic exploration. It serves as a moment of respite amidst the chaos and oppressiveness. The source of light is moving towards the observer.
Penultimate track “Distilled in Observance” is about the Doppler effect and how everything from slight resonances to tumultuous feedback affects us and our views, alongside from our surroundings, to various unforetold degrees. Soundwise this is matched with the chaotic mathcore of Fawn Limbs, similar to the second track “Black Body Radiation Curve”. After the ebb comes the flow, and in the midst of everything a melodic pattern emerges before it is smashed into a barrage of ambient noise again.
The title of the last track ”Metastable Ion Decay” refers to the process in which ions, that are relatively stable and can exist for a longer period compared to other ions, undergo a transition to a lower energy state by releasing energy or undergoing fragmentation through collision induced mechanisms. So everything has an end, everything changes to something different. Like this album. And what an end it is. Near 11 minutes of Blackened Post-Metal situated in a postapocalyptic setting. Cult of Luna à la Mariner/Vertikal gone rabid. Maybe the only track with something resembling a regular song structure. But it is an eye-opener, a key to unlock the whole work.
With Vestigial Spectra, Fawn Limbs & Nadja have created a sonic landscape that mirrors the tumultuous chaos of the universe itself. It is through this chaotic exploration that Fawn Limbs & Nadja’s music becomes a powerful medium for self-reflection, allowing listeners to confront the primal and chaotic elements within their own nature. A very high recommendation.