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4 stars After their last album being kind of a disappointment, Aethenor recorded En Form For Blå and it is definitely an improvement. My problem with the previous album is that the band's sound seemed to have hit a wall and they had no more room for progression in their sound, but En Form For Blå fixes that. It's still noisy and loud, but added to this album is more percussion, electronic elements that stand out more, and the occasional melody. The sound of the band as a whole has become much fuller than on previous albums, like they've realized that there really isn't a limit to the atmospheric elements they can slam into their particular sound, so they just went for it and threw everything in. En Form For Blå compared to previous albums has a stronger focus on percussion and instrument feedback, and comes off sounding like very noisy post-rock at times, but this is definitely not boring music in any way. Tracks like "Vivarium" and "Dream Tassels" show Aethenor experimenting with almost-spacey type electronic melodies, but the tone and the percussion give it a more down to earth and less convincing feel, but this is definitely an experiment that I'd like to see them move further with.

Much better than Faking Gold and Murder, but from the material on En Form For Blå, I'd say the band still has a lot of developing to do before they start sounding fresh again. But, I'm a fan of this kind of avant-garde noise anyway, so I can't say I wouldn't recommend it. Again, this would be best suited for fans of Igor Wakhevitch's brand of ritualized avant-electronic music with prominent organic touches.

Report this review (#439841)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
4 stars Unfolding the abstract

This album really caught me by surprise. I´ve been listening to the thing on and off for the better part of a year, and always came out at the other end with a feeling of being left out - unmarked by the music, or perhaps feeling void of any sort of interpretive skills to weed out the different languages in use here. BUT, and that is a big but, recently I´ve been going through the releases of 2011 to be able to form that inevitable list of lists, even if something like that is far from what I usually combine with music and how I think things should flow. However, there are people out there in the big wide world of the internets, who feel compelled to check out such a thing, and even further might go as far as to start purchasing some of these listed albums. Well, then by all means why shouldn´t you go ahead and spend your hard earned cash on something that most likely will turn out as an overlooked and forgotten little gem. Yep, as I was saying in my quest for those little musical treasures from the preceding year, En Form For Blå suddenly got flipped back in my stereo again, and whether it´s because I´ve been sick all week lying in bed with alternating chills and heat waves running through me, or because I recently quit smoking and could kill a small dear just to pollute my lungs a teeny tiny bit - I honestly don´t know, but this album has completely transformed itself.

The title En Form For Blå, says the same thing whether you´re from Norway or like myself hail from the marshy lands of Denmark: Kind of Blue. This title is quite the hint. One might be as bold as to suggest these sort of musical tirades to be the second coming of jazz. Big words I know, but then again I´ve always been fond of talking without thinking about consequences or what route to choose, - and just like the spirit of jazz and bebop, I suddenly remember that maybe we might not be so different after all - even if I apply these mechanics into the way I speak - and jazz does it through music - and a whole lot better and more intoxicating, I might add. It´s the spirit of communicating without a net - freeform -abstractly and improvised. Sometimes the experiment will sound like crap - in fact most times I hear someone attempt this in current music, I have to say that I feel totally and utterly unmoved by it. Soulless manure.

What we face here in this album is a combination of moogs, jazzy spastic involuntary drumming, droning surfaces and an altogether confusing mish mash of different instruments that speak when not spoken to, and weave in and out of the conversation like a drunk man trying to let you know about JFK´s old bicycle repairman, who in fact was part of the Russian star-fleet. Comprised of Stephen O'Malley from Sunn O))), Daniel O'Sullivan and Christopher Rygg of Ulver and renowned drummer Steve Noble - Æthenor packs a real punch in form of artistic name dropping, but the fact of the matter is, that these guys manage to tear free from all the mumbo jumbo often associated with super groups. This is all about the music.

It´s sluggish and crawling, staccato, in your face, wall to wall, out of tact, windswept like a tumbling butterfly, freakishly silent in several places, magical, soft, abrasive and everything in between, - and to tell you the truth - I find it pretty hard to believe that this album suddenly chose to unravel its mysteries to me, during a time where my mental state should have me reaching for the nearest Tangerine Dream record - or just anything soothing to wash down my aching body, - but somehow En Form For Blå has just captured me. I´ve been listening to this all week - through fevers and darkened rooms with monsters and angst filled dementia spewing out of me like a dark and treacherous fountain - and loved it just as much as when the grey skies have separated and opened up to calm and orangy colours from a cold sun. It is astonishing that music can feel this warm and fluid, when made up in the flinch of an eye. Maybe that has something to do with the buzzing nature of the electronics here, which can be humming and rather stagnant sounding - to these basking sizzling creatures set on fire - roaming the track like something that isn't meant for containment. Works both ways.

I´m not sure as to whom I should recommend this album to, but if you´re looking for something that is out of the ordinary - and furthermore for something progressive(in the truest sense of the word), then you should probably take a chance with this one. Just give it some time, just like I did, and before you know it, you´ll be cursing at all those pessimists who claim that prog rock is dead - and maybe, just maybe you´ll open up to this album little by little, and wind up loving it with a passion of all the nightmares leading up to it.

Report this review (#603006)
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | Review Permalink

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