Nave‘s 2004-2014 on Brave Mysteries is a collection of obscure gems—mostly issued on the project’s own Via Injection imprint over the last decade—that opens in a majestic ambient backwards-masking that reminded me of hazy moments from my childhood as refracted through the faded color of memory. That impression was assisted by a specific beat on “The World Syndrome” that is straight out of the Faust/Tony Conrad collaboration, Outside the Dream Syndicate. The psychedelic nature of this collection really shifts the listener into another side of their experience. Intonations about cobras and rapid shifts in production editing are strong throughout, as well as the plethora of actual songs with a verse/chorus structure. There are sublime moments of reflection that guide the imagination towards the machine-like, infinite grid pattern that is the well-defined mechanical “rock” sound. This blending of what would normally be concrete genre boundaries is challenging upon first listen; one picks up on the outsider psych folk/rock approach more clearly than the lingering trip-hop/electronic elements.
This collection seized my attention immediately through its sheer diversity—for example, the way there is briefly a heavy trip-hop beat with rapping on top of it before another editing interruption occurred was completely out of left-field. There are no internally imposed boundaries on this release by my estimate. Guitars and organ blend into the editing process along with other instruments and non-instruments. I hear a hit of a pop song that wouldn’t be out-of-place at a goth club that quickly dissolves into chanting and shouting about the blood of Christ redeeming us from the curse of death. This seems to be a project where mood doesn’t shift, although the group certainly disregards the limitations of having one sound or style. The gentle pick and strum of acoustic guitar does provide some folk elements, but there are themes of absurdity afloat here rather than serious neofolk and martial rhythms. Collage is a consistent theme, while there’s also some very pleasant use of more experimental elements like tape effects, stereo delay/panning, etc.
Nave is, or rather were, exploratory like a psych-rock band that was constructed solely for the purpose of recording sessions that found themselves collaged into new forms. Imagine Swedish folk kids with their own Manson Family fixation. If you want a head-scratcher of a tape that still plays like a truly twisted work of art, seek this one out. It’s unfortunately now sold out from Brave Mysteries; at a mere fifty copies, these releases just don’t ever last long enough. As of the time of publishing, however, Treue um Treue‘s distro in Germany still has copies.
This collection, in combination with last year’s Sansit Ariso tape, is intriguing examples of people doing new and strange things that have a strong sense of purpose. This is coupled with a sense of pure joy and an apparent enjoyment in the recording process itself. Fans of the unique work that Nový Svět have consistently set forth over the years will no doubt find a hidden gem in the work of Nave.
A1) A Trudge through Drenched Wet Wings
A2) The World Syndrome
A3) Breath on My Arms
A4) Closed Eyes
A5) Curse of Love
A6) I, the Baby to Whom Dreamt Sweetly
A7) Nee (82bpm)
A11) Hitler, Alive & Well in Glamic, CA
A12) Sound Won
A13) Vanilla Secret
B2) Water Machine of the Atlantic (Excerpt)
B3) Beautiful Daytime
B4) Krishna Martini ’08
B6) Seem a Little Hollow
B9) Beyond and Over
B10) Lucifer’s Fire