Wolves Evolve

Music

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.

Recent Records

Music

Boris – Heavy Rocks & Attention Please

Heavy Rocks is more the prototypical Boris sound, and “Riot Sugar” should give you metal-stylee whiplash. Whether you want it or not.

Attention Please is surprising, in that it is Boris going all trip-hop on us. With some fabulous results. They have a bandcamp page where you can hear and purchase the records.

UlverWar of the Roses

The exciting thing about a new Ulver record is that I have no idea what it is going to sound like, but I know that it will be interesting. While I don’t mind a certain amount of consistency in my creative consumption, I do like being challenged and I do like it when an artist tries something new. Ulver has been steering away from their black metal roots for some time, and War of the Roses is a continuation of the sonic style of Shadows of the Sun, though with more spoken word ambience. A LOT more. Other than the fifteen minute “Stone Angels,” which goes on for about ten minutes too long in my estimation, it’s a record that is going to unpack nicely over time.

FredrickFlora

A surprising little gem that rotating through quite a lot recently. Swedish dream-pop with a bit of Cocteau Twins, some delicate percussion, creepy but not stabby synths, and lots of airy ambience.

Kate BushDirector’s Cut

A decade after The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, Kate returns to both of these earlier records and redoes the vocals, drum tracks, and does other fiddling with some of the songs. The result is a record that sounds, well, more Kate. Director’s Cut goes a long way to reminding me why I fell in love with her work in the first place.