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(70:04, Inner Robotic Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Sonisk Blodbad Deux 2:25 2. Laika 7:06 3. Sweet Agony 5:47 4. Succubus 7:58 5. Sostre Av Vinden 3:42 6. Drown 7:51 7. Hearts and Flowers (4:02 8. Her Little Face 3:11 9. For Absent Friends 3:20 10. Elegy 19:52 11. A Sacrifice to Science Sleepyard Remix 4:50 LINEUP: - Kristian Stangebye - Ole Christensen - Haavard Tveito - Tord Litleskare - Laurie Amat - Clive Jones - Tarjei Sefland - Lars Cleveman - Steven Cerio - Don Preston - Jos Smolders - Kjetil Manheim - Fernando Saunders
Prolusion. The Norwegian project SONISK BLODBAD (literally meaning Sonic Bloodbath) first appeared some 6 years ago, initially as a duo consisting of Ole Christensen and Haavard Tveito. As time have passed more people have been involved in this venture on a permanent or project basis, although this is something probably only the original band members know. "Deux" is their second full length album, and was released in 2015.
Analysis. Electronic music can be many different things, as the focus on electronic instrumentation mainly dictates some facts about what sounds are used to create a composition. Sonisk Blodbad is among the ventures that have a firm base in electronic landscapes, where synthesizers and sequencers are favored over keyboards, bass, guitars and drums, and the electronic instruments aren't used to emulate any of those instruments either. Ranging between challenging fare not too far way from the type of creations I associate with a description such as Berlin school on one hand to more delicate constructions that close in on landscapes of a more ambient and dream-laden nature. The common denominator throughout is that the music is dark however, and sounds, that come with associations to water in general and the sea in particular, are something of a recurring feature here. The most striking compositions here are probably the ones featuring the talents of the late Clive Jones, all of them with a striking, saxophone-like, dramatic texture appearing as a dominant or supplemental detail, two of them featuring his voice used for dramatic narratives or voice effects, and the final one featuring merely the sound of his breathing. If there were plans for further contributions by him as well is one of those facts we'll probably never know, but as he passed away following a year long bout with cancer in 2014, it is at least not unlikely that this may well have been the case. Of the three tracks featuring him, the harrowing factual data and emotional outbursts that dominate the elegy about the Russian dog-cosmonaut Laika is the one that is most striking, with his theatrical performance in the aptly named Drown following close and breathlessly behind, so to speak. The centerpiece of the album is a track simply named Elegy, an almost 20-minute long creation where fluctuating patterns of dark and light synthesizers maintain movement and variation, a female vocalist gradually develops her vocals from mournful singing to operatic heights and then down to breathless whispers, with various effects and noise textures coming and going as the song develops from a dark, mournful beginning to a sharp, light-toned operatic high and then fades to whispers of sounds and noises and then finally silence. A true elegy on a number of different levels, and well executed at that. Other creations feature vocals and spoken words as well, with some purebred instrumental electronic ventures tucked in between them. The watery sounds are something of a running theme, on one of the few occasions where water sounds aren't present as such they are included in the lyrics instead. The case in point being Sostre Av Vinden (Sisters of the Wind), a creation which is also an exception, as this is basically a mournful chamber music composition lightly flavored with electronic sounds and effects.
Conclusion. Those fond of profound electronic music, of the kind that revolves around dark and cold sounds, more often than not featuring one or more sounds and effects that bring forth associations to water and the deep sea, should find Sonisk Blodbad's second album to be an intriguing one. Ranging in scope from material closer to the Berlin School tradition to ambient, dream-laden soundscapes, with a focus on being accessible just as much as cold, dark and at times haunting, this is a melancholic, mournful creation that requires a certain fascination for atmospheres of this nature by those who listen. Those who feel this description is generally appealing should find this album to be a rewarding experience.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 21, 2017
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