BADA

support Nebulosa
author AP date 28/10/21 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

There can be little doubt that Anna von Hausswolff has established herself as one of the most visionary musicians in the experimental rock and metal scene. Whether it is her eponymous, own project, her many guest appearances, or this side project of hers, BADA, everything she touches seems to turn to gold — the hallmark of an artist, whose career is on a steep upward trajectory. I have personally been waiting a long time to watch BADA live in person, so when it became clear that theirs was one of the few international concerts that was not going to be postponed anymore, my level of excitement went through the roof. I thus muscle my way to a good vantage point inside the nearly sold out Stengade venue, where I have not been since 2019, and prepare to hopefully have my mind blown.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest & Adriana Zak / Devilution.dk

Nebulosa

Solo concerts are a tough thing to nail, especially so in the case of non-DJ artists who do not sing. Nebulosa is one of these musicians, his residing on the roster of Anna von Hausswolff’s record label Pomperipossa immediately telling me that his music is going to be experimental. He is seated in the midst of the headlining band’s stage configuration, and as such, there is not much room for those additional visual elements that are crucial to rendering his kind of solo act an interesting watch as well as a listen; there is the lighting, and that’s pretty much it. Joel Fabiansson, the man behind the moniker, has an impressive assortment of pedals at his feet, and he uses these to create layers of loops that slowly build up to soundscapes that, at times, sound like the soundtrack to a Paul Haggis movie or perhaps even a modern Western like the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men”. This impression is strengthened by his use of a slide pick and the wah-wah effect to create weeping, cinematic melodies in between bits of oddly timed math rock here and there. Indeed, it seems like Nebulosa is turning the entire concept of playing guitar on its head: he uses his guitar as a vessel for the pedal effects and not vice versa. This results in some very interesting soundscapes — ones that sound much bigger than one might expect from only a single musician’s hand — but even so, the overall impression I am left with is that there is something missing, a visual component to go with his music. Nebulosa’s switching between sitting down and standing up does not translate into much of a show, and impressive though his music is, I am left no less skeptical about these one man armies of instrumental music than I was before.

5

BADA

Having watched BADA’s performance as part of the Roadburn Redux online streaming event earlier this year, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, and indeed, the concert begins in similar fashion, with dark ambiance, bowed guitar and an ominously rumbling bass filling the room from the moodily lit stage. The band has set itself up in an atypical shape, with the drummer facing the bassist and guitarist, Anna von Hausswolff on the keys in the back, and the frontman kneeling in the middle of it all, scratching the floor with a small microphone, handling an assortment of effect pedals and beating a cymbal in between distorted chants. It sounds strange in writing, but his experimental touch contributes a lot to the group’s unusual style, rendered even more mysterious by their total lack of interaction with the audience, and not least the witchy dances von Hausswolff breaks into when the drumming turns tribal, and the instrumentation heavier. And heavy really needs to be emphasised, for BADA have the ability to generate noise like it’s nobody’s business. And they have a penchant for doing it with phenomenal showmanship, each member looking completely lost in the moment and letting their music guide their bodily movements. It looks, sounds and feels so intense.

The band’s music ebbs and flows between esoteric ambient passages and these spellbinding explosions of volume and texture that leave me looking like a deer in the headlights. It feels as though with each passing song, both the music and the band’s entranced demeanour turn wilder and more extreme, exploring a myriad genres ranging from post-rock to shoegaze and even kraut rock, until it all culminates in a glorious crescendo of a track clocking 113 decibels and sounding like a psy-trance piece repurposed into the post-metal genre. The crowd looks absolutely mesmerised throughout, and whatever chatter tries to manifest itself during some of the quieter parts is resolutely drowned out by the sheer, staggering volume of the séance. At times, it even sounds like the frontman is screaming "LOUDER!" into his regular mic and his compatriots seem to obey. It is honestly difficult to describe what BADA sounds like in the live setting apart from various metaphors for loud, but if you have ever seen one of Anna von Hausswolff’s own concerts, it has a certain resemblance to some of the enormous build-ups that you will have experienced at those — albeit happening at a higher frequency. I am completely blown away by this stuff and while the streaming performance did offer some clues as to how the show might pan out, it had not prepared me for this degree of grandeur.

9

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