Thursday, 25 May 2017

Ulver "Kveldsjanger" (1996)

I've always been aware of Ulver, never quite found my way into his eclectic collection of records however the recent release of "The Assassination Of Julies Caesar" has cracked open the door. "Kveldsjanger" caught my ear as I was skimming through albums. Its part of the "Black Metal Trilogy" yet has not a drip of anything Metal in sight. Ulver's first record had both Black Metal and Norwegian Folk music woven into one, the following two records would split the styles and so this release is thirty five minutes of enchanting, mythic, Norse Folk to sink into.

Serine acoustic guitars, enchanting flutes, a deep brooding cello and absorbing vocals paint a wonderfully primitive and spiritual experience, capturing the spell bounding beauty of the cold natural terrain. Its wooden acoustics have a natural chill about them, very earthly. They strum out layered arrangements that sway their linage, ever changing, there twang a touch Spanish in moments but rarely that temperate. Garm's voice has a few intensities, sometimes loud and burly at the forefront, performing a folk tale, other times hes heard holding notes and words in the distance like a hymn behind the guitars. It always brings a spiritual humanistic level to the music and puts a soul within the landscape.

The nuances of detail are almost irrelevant in how vividly the vision of times gone by come across. The vast Nordic countryside is brought to life with a rural honesty, the mood doesn't steer into paganism, darkness or some exaggeration. It has a grounded authenticity that lets your imagination set the scene. A slight streak of sorrow runs through some tracks but nothing ever feels obvious, Its mood and tone command the setting with compositions that feel like old Folk songs have been fleshed out and expanded upon. "Hiertets Vee" steps of the path with the sound of vicious whirling winds and the end of the song, lonely flutes are heard through it, painting visions of travelers hunkering down to see out a storm. Its just a single moment that's a little more cinematic than musical and it fits right in. This record is a wonderful piece of folk art, a go to record for that atmosphere of the ancient past.

Rating: 8/10

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