Haarvöl; Norn; Ionosphere; Elian


Haarvöl is a Portugese experimental music collective with three permanent members. Indite refers to composing (or writing), indicating these tracks are carefully thought-out and constructed – about the opposite of the improv noise you’d probably come to expect with the combination of ‘experimental’ and ‘collective’.
Combining both digital and analogue sources with field recordings, the result of their experiments opens a detailed adventurous soundworld. A rather dark world it is, too, with titles like The Massive Downward of Greyness, Quaestio Tormentorum, The Inescapable Labyrinth.
Even without the visuals that usually accompany Haarvöl‘s music (examples of which can be found on their Vimeo page), this is very cinematic music.


From the same record label (the dutch Moving Furniture Recordscomes this equally fascinating album by Norn.
Despite his Nordic sounding name, Peter Johan Nÿland‘s album tracks all have dutch and Japanese titles.
The album title translates to Liar (it seems), but it’s not very clear what that may imply. The dutch titles all refer to foggy dreams of sadness and loneliness: Droom van het zinken naar het holst van een naamloze diepte (Dream of sinking to the center of a nameless depth), Vanuit de nevelen (From the mist), Maanmeer (Moonlake)… 
The music “recounts lingering dreams of fog-ridden landscapes, desolate, monumental cities and sweltering slumber hours in the afternoon heat”.
That may sound all somewhat depressing, but it really isn’t: Usotsuki conveys the kind of darkness one can sometimes yearn for – not threatening or frightening darkness, but seclusive and suspenseful.
All but one tracks are instrumental: Balor features a poetic spoken word contribution by Pete Simonelly, whose voice perfectly fits the ‘film noir’ atmosphere.

Ionosphere - NightscapeIONOSPHERE – NIGHTSCAPE
Not much is known about Ionosphere, except that his real name is Erik H. Sander, he’s from Germany, and this is his third album since 2004.
Nightscape is subtitled “Watch the World – Pass – Into Endless Night”, and that about perfectly describes the carefully crafted, deep soundscapes on this album of “Expansive drones, drifting melodic soundscapes, ominous sonic undertones and vocal transmissions (that) intersect with densely concentrated rhythmic pulsations that emphasize the sculptural nature and deep atmospheric scope of the 11 tracks”.


Elian - Cutting Up the Sun

Shortly after his Harrowgate release (on Home Normal), here’s another scintillating release by Michael Duane Ferrell (Elian), this time released on the Long Story Recording Company (sister label to Twice Removed).
With these soundscapes, Elian“hopes to land in that midway position between what could be called ambient music and noise.”
And he does exactly that, although there’s not many moments of ambient music in the classic sense: the album has much more references to what I’d call electronic avant-garde.
Don’t be misguided by the quiet album take-off with Totality (and don’t set your headphone’s volume too high): soon you’ll be in high gear, heading directly for the sun! A thrilling electronic ride with a razor-sharp sound (as always when mastering is done by James Plotkin).

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