Produced by: Heading North Music
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Who is Nadjiwan? For the past twenty years Nadjiwan has been a project of Marc Merilainen, a Canadian with a Native American and Finnish background. Born in Manitoba and raised in Northwestern Ontario, Merilainen knew he would be a musician from an early age. He graduated from the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College before returning to Thunder Bay, where he began collaborating with other First Nations musicians.
Over the past two decades, Nadjiwan has released four studio albums. I first heard the music of Nadjiwan when I was working with another entertainment site and I’ve been hooked ever since, so I was delighted when I was sent Superposition, Nadjiwan’s fifth studio album and his first new record since Philosophy for the Masses. I couldn’t wait to take a listen.
As I began to listen to Superposition, I noted an edgier sound to the album – rock mixed with Native American sound. The first track, Disintegrator, features a funky guitar rhythm, Native American vocalizations, rattles and distorted synths. The singer is pretty much berating the person he is singing to/about. This person (who may be a metaphor for government) sticks their noses where they don’t belong and often causes more trouble than they are worth. Re-Entry, released earlier this year and reaching #1 status in the National Indigenous Music Countdown has a catchy hook: “Tell me where we’re going now / And are we going round / And are we slowing down / And are we going nowhere fast / And how long will it last / Right before we crash / We burn.”
One of my favorite tracks on the album is We Are the Future, a rebellious anthem railing against a government that lies and never actually does anything to represent the people and giving them fair notice: “You strike us / You fine us / We will win ‘cause we are the future / You hate us / You jail us / You are the past and we are the future.” Another awesome call to rise song is Defend. Featuring a funky drum beat, distorted vocals and echoes, this song calls for listeners to fight for what is right. Stream is another call to action. Beginning with blowing wind accompanied by soulful guitars, the singer warns that you can only take so much form Mother Earth before she takes it back. It’s a call to protect the planet we live on.
These are only a few great songs to be found on what I would call Nadjiwan’s best album to date. I loved the mixes of Native American vocals and woodwinds with soulful guitars and awesome percussion. The lyrics are thoughtful and amazingly catchy. You’ll find yourself singing along after the second listen. Superposition is a must purchase for any Nadjiwan fan, but I would even recommend this to people who have never listened to Nadjiwan’s music before – this would be a great album to start with…a great first impression from a musician who impresses me with every project he puts forth.