In my efforts to become smarter, I will occasionally revisit things of the past and try them again with a more educated set of senses. Case in point: Ulver’s 10th anniversary remix disc, 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machine. I think Jester Records sent me a copy to review for earPollution, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it.
And looking through the archives, I see that I never reviewed an Ulver record during the eP era, and I wonder if I hadn’t really discovered them yet.
Anyway, the remixes. I seem to recall only recognizing Fennesz, Merzbow, and Bogdan Raczynski. when I first saw the disc. Now, it reads as Ulver having a very hip circle of friends in the electronic music world. At first pass, I wonder if Ulver’s most hardened fans scratched their heads in confusion as well. Given the band’s direction on Perdition City and the following EPs, the list of participants makes a great deal of sense. And the record is certainly a glitch fest. Some of it is the sort of squealing tone waves that I’ve given myself clearance to no longer pretend I have to say kind things about (in the abstract, it is interesting; it just isn’t interesting to listen to), and some of it does take Ulver’s stripped down electronic lounge sound in interesting directions. As Ulver’s sound has continually changed from record to record, you start to wonder how you can talk about some of these aural efforts as being unlike anything Ulver has done because they could very well be the sound of the next record.
I’ve been waiting for War of the Roses to grow on me. I see that they’re releasing a live DVD from the Norwegian National Opera, and given the track listing, it should be an interesting listening experience. Visually too, if the live visuals for “Norwegian Gothic” (at the War of the Roses link listed above) are any indication.
Also, there is a track by track interview at the War of the Roses site that was conducted by the Freethinkers blog that is worth watching. (Oh, it’s a Pop record.) And Jørn’s quote–“The paradox always has a home with us”–sums up the Ulver sound so well.