Friday, November 8, 2013

Til Det Bergens Skyggene - Vandringen II (Lynnelandskap)

What genre is this?  It's not pure dungeon synth, however its dungeon synth moments are powerful expressions of the mood.  I'd say it probably falls back more with the traditional electronic/ambient of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, and the rest of that crowd, however it is out place there as well.  I'd say in fact it doesn't belong to any particular genre.  You can describe aspects of it by referring to other genres, but it seems to me to be merely an expression of synthesizer darkness, chaotic and gorgeous and melting into itself like wax.  

It is not an easy work.  I'd say the first "Vandringen" was easy by comparison.  However, I feel all that is required here is multiple listens, to familiarize oneself with the riffs and structure.  On the first listen one feels very disoriented, since it rarely repeats, often uses dissonant melodies, and seldom offers a familiar tone or expected transition.  In that way, perhaps you could say that it's avant-garde, though I think on further listens one will find that this release lacks the sense of frivolity and whimsy that typically accompanies that descriptor; there seems to be an ultimate serious vision here.  It can't be described in words (why bother making it in music then?), but I can say that it is quite beautiful.

This tape seems to acknowledge the pain of life, particularly for those sensitive outsiders drawn away from reality and into the inner fantasies.  But this work encompasses both aspects of that picture, the distress as well as the escape, providing a depth of conflict often lacking in dungeon synth.  This conflict stands in stark contrast to the serene beauty of other moments, the low expansive pads steadily beating with life, the soaring synthetic trumpets ushering in the emperor of sleep.  It is incredibly earnest and convincing in all of these emotions as well, the genuine spirit speaking quiet whispers of what is within, without pretense or mask.

It's quite hard to tell at any moment whether what you're hearing was carefully practiced or improvised.  Every note seems to be in its proper place, and yet there is almost a dreamlike sense of spontaneity.  Alongside this is the rough sound, the lo-fi tape quality, the handcrafted analog-sounding synth tones, the severe limitation and obscurity of the material, etc.  It is authenticity incarnate.  

And the textures here are often breathtaking.  It is clear that much thought went into every tone, and I'm guessing that much of them were manipulated extensively by the musician himself, since they have such a distinctive timbre (or perhaps I am just not as familiar with the sounds of analog synths).  Either way, these tones are lush and warm, even when the music descends into the coldest, blackest depths, we are comforted that at least it is still alive.  It sounds rubbery, malleable, and organic.  The occasional vocal effects causes me to sometimes wonder whether what I'm hearing is a synth or a man's voice manipulated through effects.  And then I even wonder if I should even distinguish between the two.

I recommend it.  It can be purchased here:


  1. Thanks for the heads-up, I didn't realize that Voldsom had a new batch of releases out, as I've been out of the loop for a few months. Ordered all of the new tapes, pretty affordable, even with overseas shipping. I'm excited to hear this as well as the other two releases. Did you get the Compressio Cerebri and Nahtrunar tapes as well, by any chance?

    1. Actually, I didn't notice anything had changed except for TDBS, so thanks for pointing that out. I'll need to look into those.

    2. Ha, no problem. Nahtrunar are supposed to be black metal, but I'm interested in finding out what Compressio Cerebri are like. Both came with L.V.'s recommendation, so I don't doubt that they'll be quality stuff.

  2. I received this cassette a month-or-so back and have to say I was quite shocked at the transformation from 'Vandringen I' that it represents. As you point out it cannot be considered in any way orthodox DS, but it is an exciting and daring work that lovers of vintage synth sounds will doubtless appreciate.

  3. Voldsom has got a bandcamp page now, for those not being able to listen on cassette devices.