Thursday, 10 November 2016

Lord Lovidicus "Trolldom" (2010)

The cold autumn nights of November are setting in and I find myself under moody skies of shadows, drawn to my favorite records of a darker nature. "Trolldom" is thee quintessential record of Dungeon Synth, a music scene that around seven years ago seemed to spark renewed interest after gathering dust from its early origins linked to Scandinavian Black Metal. Ive waited some time to talk about this one, as time has taught me its the particular type of record you save for the perfect mood, for then its minimalist, amateurish exterior transforms into magic. The forth of fifteen Lord Lovidicus records, "Trolldom" is the pinnacle of the early era when the sound was purist and tracks were performed on a cheap synthesizer keyboard, captured through a microphone and pasted together in an amateurish spirit that forged much of the albums charm.

Its simple and effective recording technique gave it two key aspects that appeal greatly to the ancient, eerie nostalgic sound associated with Dungeon Synth. Aesthetically the low-fidelity charm is achieved instantly, the imperfections and blurriness of the instruments play perfectly into its antique theme, forging an atmosphere of the forgotten, the mysterious unknowable past. The imperfect performances reinforce this, mistimed drums and key strokes left in create a sense of decay, lost to the half life of time, as if these are the remaining glimmers of a world and time lost forever to the cosmos.

This alone couldn't make the record what it is, its low fidelity faces up against a subtle sense of minimalism as many of the songs phase between two to three synth lines with short, simple melodies which play to grander themes. The power of these tunes playing to its vision lets one re-imagine the songs with a lavish folly of instrumentation sounding equally as impressive. In this inspiration Lovidicus taped into the heart of the shrouded, ambiguous imagination for worlds of might and magic lost. Its an idea, a spirit that only captivates a few minds but for those to whom it makes sense too, a world of fantasy awaits behind these odd, strange and wonderful collection of songs.

Most of the songs have a fairly linear progression, moving through each set of melodies and moving to a conclusion. Most of the tracks tend to have a climactic moment where the song stops in its tracks and breaks to a wash of sweeping synths that amplify the mysterious tone of these songs. The instruments mostly comprise of a deep base synth, some emulated string section and a lead instrument like a bell, harp or somewhere between. Alongside them the ever present thud of a tom drum keeps pace with an unappealing tone. Once again its simplistic and stark nature plays into the mystery and in some moments the beats get a little more complex with snares and hi hats. Mostly though its rigid, sharp and some of the cymbal sounds are rather harsh given there is a single sample being played repetitively. If he has one trick up his sleeve its the use of stereo sweeping which doesn't contrast the records tone.

The only vocal element is the occasional samples from what I believe are pre-Jackson LOTR movies. Many of his records have strong ties to that world of fantasy but it is not the focus here. Track names like "Sorcery" and "Merlin's Tower" make no secret of its wizards and magic theme which spark the imagination for other worlds where nature is imbued with unexplained powers that can be manipulated by those who can will it. For me I see moss swept castles surrounded by fog, like on the cover, hidden chambers, secret passageways held under moonlight and secret knowledge hidden behind lock and key in a world gone by. Undoubtedly his strongest record in a discography that offers such a wealth of variety now.

Favorite Tracks: Sorcery, Crystal Caverns, In The Chamber Of Lord Lovidicus, Merlin's Tower
Rating: 9/10