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Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars What a superb music terrorist Lars PEDERSEN was.

His second album "Death In The Blue Lake" under the moniker of WHEN could open my eyes again for one of surrealistic "avantgarde rock" world. The titled track on Side A is kinda killer one ... The extreme horrible opening squeezes synthesizer-based windwood-y negative drone into our minds, soon followed by a plaintive orchestrated sound forest. Weird shouts, fuzzy sound effects, frozen wind blowing, and so on. Yes all sounds / noises constructed in Lars' instruments with Lars' strong intention would seem to be a dramatic theatre on a vinyl. Like a lady shouting on the sleeve, every sound seasoning may build a really strict dreammare deeply in our brain I guess. If anything, this long suite can be a well-calculated beauty mixture with some jerky shockwave knocks. Exactly suitable to call the suite as a tragedy of sound. The last can be heard as the end of our life ... sad, vain, tense (like clock running), but graceful, magnificent. Addictive stuff always heads me up actually.

Short tracks on Side B would be something unified with Lars' short ideas. There are not only madness, loudness, dirtiness, but also beauty, fancy, wealthy, fantasy. Sometimes we can feel vacant like in "Loosing Figures", sometimes comfortable in the beginning of "Paint The Dance" (LOL), urgent like in "Frozen Atlantic", and depressive / froggy in "Followed By Water". Of all on the rear, "Fragments", created by sound / tune fragments dealt with (reverse) tape effects, is one of my favourites. Into this track, Lars might stuff various components grabbed in his deep lake mind, I imagine. The last "Under X-mas Tree Of Medusa" can be felt as a tiny version of the suite mentioned above for me, but on the contrary, it's quite impressive that such a Norwegian genius would come across his first turning point in the next creation, due to a fateful encounter with a RIO vanguard Chris CUTLER. Amazing indeed.

In a different sense from typical RIO / Avant-Prog scene, this album should be highly recommended.

Report this review (#861523)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars WHEN is the project of Norwegian Lars Pederesen and on this his second release from 1988 he does it all. I actually didn't know that until I just saw it here on the site that he plays all the instruments and he composed all of the music. And I find that incredible. I was kind of reminded of Holger Czukay the way he uses samples, field recordings etc. I know many of you have blindly bought an album solely on the cover art or maybe it was the band's name or even the title of the album. For me it was the latter as I for some strange reason was drawn to that mysterious title. Lars really blew me away with that 22 minute title track which takes me places every time I spin it. My imagination runs a little wild sometimes when I hear it and what more can you ask when it comes to music.

"Death In The Blue Lake" opens with a bass horn and a solemn mood before orchestral sounds kick in reminding me at times during this epic track of ART ZOYD. It's dark and melancholic when suddenly we can hear birds chirping and other nature sounds around 1 1/2 minutes. After 3 minutes you can hear the wind blowing and that's all we hear at first until faint sounds arrive including a dog barking. A door opens and there's plenty of suspense here. Some brief singing then some mellotron flute joins in. A ticking clock follows along with spoken words and orchestral sounds. Someone is walking in deep grass then we get a sudden outburst before 7 minutes that continues for a minute and it's jarring to say the least. It's haunting again then we get this mechanical-like rhythm with plenty of suspense. All you can hear is a ticking sound before 11 minutes then church bells. It's dark again before 12 minutes as sounds rise and collapse. The orchestral sounds before 13 minutes sound random and avant. It's getting creepy again after 17 minutes right to the end. What an amazing suite of music and the highlight of the album for me.

"Loosing Figures" really makes me laugh early on as we hear some old guy coughing so bad you think he's going to hurt himself. People are hacking away like they are about to die. It then turns instrumental with accordion, a beat and more. Vocals and an experimental soundscape before 2 minutes. Some crazy "out there" vocals follow. "Afterzone" is my second favourite tune on here. Deep sounds, percussion and a military or Remembrance Day vibe follows until just before a minute when it all brightens. I like this as vocals join in this uplifting section. Guitar replaces the vocals briefly before 2 minutes playing in an experimental manner. A surprisingly catchy yet far from normal piece of music. "Paint The Dance" opens with the sound of someone pouring a drink then we can hear the fizz. Then it sounds like a bunch of natives chanting around the fire smoking their pipes into the late hours.

"Fragments" opens with someone yodeling believe it or not. I wish it wasn't true myself. Some strange sounds then come and go. "Frozen Atlantic" has a catchy sound with accordion as the vocals come and go. "Followed By Water" starts with water sounds surprisingly as other sounds start to come and go. Experimental stuff. "Under X-Mass Tree Of Medusa" has these loud sounds that sweep in and out. It's dark and experimental then it starts to really get intense and frantic. Crazy is the word, in fact insanity best describes the sound before 3 minutes in. Organ ends it. By the way the cover art has a picture of Medusa over top of another picture.

I was so glad to read Damo's glowing review of this album. It's one of those rare albums from 1988 that I would highly recommend. A solid 4 stars for this experimental work.

Report this review (#1618198)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2016 | Review Permalink

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