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Ulver - A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.81 | 41 ratings

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Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars An EP worthy of 5 stars - an anomaly!

No matter how unique Ulver are, A Quick Fix of Melancholy EP is an unusual EP. Unlike other group's short releases, which tend to be either too experimental for their own good, too incoherent and primitive or too immature, this EP is a gem. It seems that Ulver had everything at the time to record music for a little more than 20 minutes that would be as incredible as some of their longer albums. They must have taken the best ideas at that time that together with songwriting talent, intellect and help from other musicians would create a crazy little masterpiece.

The opener Little Blue Bird represents the sound and the mood of the album successfully. However, it is also the most minimalistic and repetitive track on the album. I must admit I dislike this song for some time for that reasons solely. Fortunately for me, I have grown to like when I finally got the point. The mood is the most important aspect of this composition. It is depressing and grim, almost suicidal. The main theme repeats throughout the song and your aim should be paying attention to all the layers mixed within the song as background. I don't suppose I should mention this, this being a Progressive Music website and all, right? A female guest performs really messed up distortion of opera vocals here, and Garm also sings, fitting the depressing mood of the song incredibly well - something Ulver *always* pull off, regardless of what they are up to or in to at the time. Definitely a grower. The next track is titled Doom Sticks and it departs from the opener's mood and sound slightly. It is more melancholic and still laid-down. The intro of this track reminds me of Gentle Giant's Pantagruel's Nativity from the Acquiring The Taste album a lot, although it could just be my associations not the actual description of the sound. It is also a better representation of the album as a whole - electronic meets messed up classical music, with electronic instruments, synthesizers and beats mixed with string instruments. The sound is clearly unique and definitely very proggy. It is less repetitive than the previous track and goes into the third track, called Vowels(get it?) with a perfect transition. This is definitely the most intriguing song here, featuring some of the most fascinating sounds the group have released on a record ever. A male opera singer(again, very messed up), quite possibly Garm trying a new role but also very likely not, supplies the vocals for this track, accompanied with other instruments it creates a fabulous vibe that has to be witnessed by every listener, from my point of view. The second half of the track is very different from the first - as eclectic synths take a step in, without the orchestration going anywhere. A rich, pleasant sound! Vowels is one of my all-time Ulver favourites without a shadow of doubt, although I'm not really one of the peoople who make lists of their favourite music. Eittlane closes the album and it is a remix of a track called Nattleite from their Norwegian Folk release Kveldssanger. However, it should not be treated as a mere bonus - the track takes the above-mentioned folky tune and changed it, without shifting the mood, but the sound in result is perfectly suited for this EP. There are electronic beats and more layers and it lasts for about twice as long as the original. I like it much more. Garm's vocals stay "untouched" from the original - they are unusual to listen to, knowing how greatly Ulver's sound has changed over the years.

What is left is to conclude is that this is a little gem that every Ulver fan should be proud of having in his collection. It is unlike anything they have done and yet so much like them. I even have no idea if it is Rygg singing on the third song or not, but what I just thought about is that it doesn't really matter! The vocals seem to fit that specific song amazingly well and the singer, whoever he is, captures the conception behind group's music successfully. I also have to say that if you have never exposed yourself to the music of Ulver, you should acquire this album first no matter what kind of listener you are. This is modern messed up classical music of our age, crazy and bizarre - something that I associate with prog more than anything else.

An essential EP!(who would have thought it!) (still giving it four stars, as it should have been a little longer...)

Trickster F. | 4/5 |


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