Thursday, December 25, 2014

Til Det Bergens Skygenne - Vandringen II (Lynnelandskap) (2014)

Far from the rustic scenery of its predecessor, Vandringen I: Skoglandskap, released in 2012, the latest Til Det Bergens Skygenne cassette released through Voldsom promises little but nihilisim: a gray, impenetrable haze staring at the listener who happens upon the cover image. So I was entirely taken aback when I started listening through this, because while it's far from a bright bout of sunshine, it's not nearly so bleak and dark as I had guessed. The material is certainly a departure from the Til Det Bergens Skygenne tapes before it, which were a naturalistic infusion of woodland ambient and dungeon synth in the vein of cult recordings from Mortiis, etc. Here Lord Vravenorn has offered us a less structured, more psychedelically intimate fusion of ambient minimalism, lo-fi beats and synthesizer lines which hearken more to his old synth influences...for instance you might hear some Tangerine Dream, but he's not exactly implementing the same pads, with a fraction of the rigid mechanical structure of Kraftwerk.

Previous recordings, while simplistic, were very consistent and felt a little more prepared than the material on this, which really feels as if he set up a few aesthetic parameters and began to unwind, layering in the varied synth textures to create something a little more alien. This was not unlike the parallel development of another of his projects, Yearner, although I feel like The Second Howl was a much more frightening and unusual effort, while this is honestly pretty smooth in parts. The three tracks create an overarching ebb and flow of psychedelia pointing straight at the 70s, a decade in which the keyboard was being developed with so many new tones; with the caveat that some of the grimier indulgent tones, beats and ambient swells were not in fashion during that time, and these tunes (like "Part III") definitely have a tendency to simmer into a climactic point. Fuse that sort of nostalgic miasma with colorful, spacey imagery kind of like you'd find as the backdrop to various antiquated science fiction shows and you'll find the appropriate headspace from which you can properly appreciate the hallucinatory terrain Vranevorn is digging through.

For much of the playtime, I felt as if I was floating weightless through some strange Limbo where the weird tones and melodies created a sense of serenity that was occasionally being marred by the more obnoxious little sounds that occasionally present themselves. The synth lines often feel playful or communicating with one another. The stark, sparse interruptions feel like astral garbage scows sifting through the puffy, purple emptiness for emotional salvage. But this is my own hyperbolic reaction to the may feel as if you're watching a patch of multi-hued mushrooms bloom, or in some forgotten underground space where you're watching fluorescent slow motion waterfalls. It does occasionally have its moments of gloomier atmosphere, generally when the keys are more minimal and deeper tones ring off into the emotional void, but in general I found this to be really consistent, trippy material which is not at all an unwelcome shift from the canon predating it.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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