Thursday, 11 May 2017

Ulver "The Assassination Of Julius Caesar" (2017)

Norwegian musician Ulver has an eclectic discography in the making. Emerging from his native native Black Metal scene in the 90s, Ulver gave up the sound after the third record and has since pursued many sounds and styles, often experimental. From Dark Ambient and Drone, to Trip Hop and Jazz, often with a strong current of Electronics, he has quite the remarkable journey. This latest venture outlines its premise and inspiration with the title alone, the music strides into new territory as an intelligent from of Synthpop emerges, rich in texture and dense in composition.

Lyrically its concept is obvious, stated in the albums title. As words often do, they go right past me however like a sore thumb one always picks up on the pronunciation of dates, events and the narrations that tie them together in the pursuit of historical ties. Sometimes we are following Caesar's internal dialog and other times from a third person perspective. Its one thing that caught my attention, however almost all of mine was captivated by the stunning instrumentals and Ulver's soaring, powerful yet persuasive voice.

 An array of beautifully crafted synth instruments unite under an inspired chemistry that brings about a truly swooning collection of songs. They play out like cinematic moments of emotion and event, with the power to transform and evolve seamlessly. The synths interweave bright, pulsing melodies with bold and poppy textures while soft, expansive strings grace the backdrop. Pianos, acoustic guitars and other instruments wage in too, the drumming is especially impressive, holding together and electronic sound without relying on booming thuds and thumps. There is a lot of hi-hat and cymbal work, subtle drum rolls and a good sense of rhythm to really flesh out the percussion without overpowering its way into the fold.

Its as if the level of craft and composition outplay its nearest neighbor, on one level it has the pop sensibilities to draw one in with fantastic hooks and inviting melodies, on another it plays so much deeper with all kinds of whispering instruments waging in, for example very quiet bongos can be heard here and there. With it the songs can be simple in structure and others more complex and evolved, however the album flows effortlessly between the varying degrees of approach. Brilliant record, can't stop listening to my favorites at the moment.

Favorite Tracks: So Falls The World, Transverberation, 1969, Coming Home
Rating: 8/10