CHRISTIAN SKJØDT: Squaring Circles LP/DL Tonometer
On Christians’ latest long player, we are once again supplied with an eclectic mix of high-end drones.
This lengthy two-tracker follows suit with a lot of his previous output. It’s a fine line between an invigorating listening experience and outright nonsense when approaching this kind of experimentalism; but more often than not, Christian manages to keep things on the right side of hypnotic and trance-like states to keep things interesting, should you have the due patience by the bucketload.
Recorded live at ‘Slow’ in Copenhagen in September 2015, it has taken quite some time for this work to see the light of day. Here I can imagine a raft of visuals accompanying this work (or at least, I hope there was). Either way this field of electronics always works best within a live environment.
As it is, it’s a sunny day outside and this surprisingly fits well with the quiet isolation that the world is currently undergoing and I did find this enjoyable overall. Scoring this will often produce varying results depending on the listener. I however, found the rounded warm undertones that flow throughout this release, a softener to the soaring pitches that that threaten aural comfort.
LARS LUNDEHAVE HANSEN: Recursive Abstractions MC/DL Tonometer
This latest work from Denmark’s Hansen follows a similar path trodden on previous output, providing a comforting, familiar continuity to his work. It’s a formula that works effectively well, through varying degrees of light and shade; as ambient pads, dark and light, compliment each other without one overworking the other.
Numbing tones occasionally pitter-pat amongst a breathing aural landscape. The numerically titled six tracks on offer play with a variety of emotions; occasionally throwing a curveball of distorted guitar noise into the mix, with cutting glitches to interrupt the momentum and solitude one feels whilst being submerged in the story being told.
Overall, this limited cassette (produced exclusively for Lars’ Canadian tour) is an aurally expansive and dramatic body of work that deserves a great deal of attention and praise; and is a prime example of the genre when it works at its finest.
LARS LUNDEHAVE HANSEN: Irregular Pattern Delay CD/DL Tonometer
With a limited European release, this latest album from Hansen was exclusively produced for the Japanese market.
Following a different path to the glorious ‘Terminal Velocity’, ‘Irregular Pattern Delay’ subtly grabs the listener through a more experimental approach than its older brother. More emphasis has been placed on sparse drones, reverberated electronics and fluttering delays (as per the album title) that gently throb and whir throughout.
As a whole this album sees Hansen display a degree of variation to his output, rather than merely relying on previous formulas of Dark Ambient and expansive pad work. Whilst I do prefer other output, this album is a strong affair overall, that approaches the listener from a different tack; whilst not being so obscure as to hinder that listening experience, through it’s peculiarities and obscure overtones that keeps the listener on their toes.
CHRISTIAN SKJØDT: Dissolution & Suspension LP/DL Tonometer
Commissioned by the Danish Cultural Institute to celebrate the 150th birthday of Carl Nielsen, Christian’s latest album ‘Dissolution & Suspension’ premiered as a performance at the National Library in Riga, Latvia; alongside the Danish Cultural Institutes’ 25th Anniversary in August 2015.
Separating the unity of a string quartet, this latest release focuses on each individual channel being given its own area in which to breathe and expand; and the electronic manipulation and processes utilised, draw each element into a long stretched path of ambience and droning envelopment.
As four separate movements cut into channels of equal measure, this differs somewhat from the live installation, where stereo implementation restores the somewhat live divorce of the individual tracks; and returns them to their ultimate unified form.
Overall, ‘Dissolution & Suspension’ works in a listening environment that requires patience to soak up the array of gliding and throbbing rises in pitch and tone, that drive an adept knowledge of spatial awareness; and given the original source medium, there are individual moments on this album that are quite beautiful and ultimately rewarding.
CHRISTIAN SKJØDT: Illumination EP 10” Vinyl/DL Tonometer
As concepts go, this couldn’t be more ‘out there’ as far as subject matter goes. ‘Illumination centralises around an 18th century wine cellar in Riga, Latvia; examining the translation of outer circumstances of the energy of the Sun as it enters the darkness of the cellar in question, translated by sound.
Installations can be quite tricky affairs, where in practise they work for an audience that is there to witness the event; and ultimately what the artist is trying to pitch them. It can be quite a different affair on record, for a listener sitting at home; and more often than not, the experience is completely lost. On this beautifully packed EP, the story is unfortunately, somewhat missing, albeit functional in some respect.
Musically, ‘Illumination’ has been swamped by artistic merit. Ever so slowly overdriven drones are fine by me, but they do need to shift focus from time to time, to travel towards an endgame; and there is just a slight hiccup here, in the application as far as listening pleasure is concerned.
This is, as a whole, well meaning and there has been a great degree of thought at the core of the release. As a collectors item it’s a fantastic ‘product’ and work of art. However, there isn’t that much on here that would drive many a repeat listen. The entire live experience of course, I am sure, would be an entirely different prospect.
LARS LUNDEHAVE HANSEN: Terminal Velocity LP Tonometer
Danish composer Hansen’s latest output appears on gorgeous heavyweight blue vinyl through his home countrymen’s quality label, Tonometer. This debut full-length, comprising of 21 concise tracks feels value for money, even if the songs themselves are relatively short in length.
Hansen approaches the listener through a series of rich Dark Ambient and crisp drones. Occasional rasps of distortion grind a welcome appearance into the mix, driving an edge to the proceedings; alongside gasps of frost-tinged ambience, that breathe an accompanying chilled mist for atmospheric weight.
Balancing distance between the varying degrees of sound is something that Hansen has achieved to great effect. Creating a floating tempo, where resonating and often conflicting pitches meet in the middle; Lars manages to fill any empty space that can arise when dabbling in this genre, as the varying degrees of tone glue themselves as one.
As debut releases go, ‘Terminal Velocity’ is one of those albums that set the musicians’ personal bar to an exceedingly high level. As a genre related item, this is as quality as many of those that Hansen’s peers are releasing at this current point; nay, as good as anything that has come before.