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4 stars Morton Birkeland Nielsen from Norway is the solo artist who is behind the project known as 'Briedablik', a Progressive Electronic project started in 2012. His music is influenced by the Berlin School. He has released 3 full length albums up to this point, including 'Nhoohr' released in February of 2019. His music is mostly ambient and atmospheric, reminiscent of sparseness and majesty. The album is a product from the Bergen School of Electronic Music.

'Arrival' is a short introductory piece that reflects the ambient yet beautiful style that evokes mindscapes of cold, dark and lonely landscapes. The music is in no hurry to paint a picture. At the end, there is a raspy cry of a crow. 'At the Windswept Plains of Nhoohr' quickly paints the scene of a wintery, sparseness with sustained notes and atmospheric effects. Soon, a repeating electronic loop creates a feeling of movement as cold effects continue, metallic sounds, water flowing, wind and so on. Soon a slow electronic improvised melody is established. Later, there are sustained and slow changes, interesting effects, as the loop continues on. At around 7 minutes, a 2nd loop shadows the first, but then that soon all fades out as effects continue. A new electronic theme comes in around 9 minutes with an almost vocal effect also joins for a short time. This is soon replaced by a drone and soon an organ plays a slowly descending pattern over it all. Before 13 minutes, the loop returns with sustained synth chords ebbing and flowing. After 14 minutes, it all fades.

'Clouddancing' starts with wind chimes tinkling and a synth and guitar establish a native style melody. There is also a softly thumping bass that emulates a steady drum beat. After a few minutes, this fades and there are sustained chords and effects that slowly build. Around 6 minutes, an electronic loop starts and atmospheric synths give a celestial atmosphere of floating. Again, the wind chime effect comes in and everything eventually fades after 10 minutes.

'The Old Forest' fades in with chirping birds, wind effects and an acoustic guitar playing softly. Soon another one joins it. They stop after a while and the natural sounds continue with a loon, running water, crows cawing. A dark ambient synth comes in playing slow chord changes. Brighter synths also come in playing a barely discernable melody, but it's a nice sound. Birds soon come in again. Then the acoustic guitar comes back, but more upfront this time accompanied by beautiful synths and this continues until after 6 minutes.

'Strange Lands' starts with low droning synths. Spacey effects come in while another synth plays a melody. Things stay mostly ambient with the spaciness continuing until after 5 minutes. More natural sounds as a warbling synth comes in and more mysterious sounding effects. Things intensify a bit with the addition of a synth-bass loop. The track continues with the style of interesting effects until after 11 minutes when it fades.

'Perihelion' utilizes a bright loop and soft percussion as chords ebb and flow in a more commercial style track, not too unlike Tangerine Dream. As it continues, it becomes quite lush. The bonus track from Bandcamp is called 'Shadows' and is also just over 5 minutes like the previous track. It is a slow moving track with synth chords and halfway through, a low drone comes in and everything builds to a nice climax. You can imagine the sun rising on a frozen tundra that hasn't seen the sun in months.

The overall sound on this album is ambient, yet it is also melodic to a certain degree. The biggest surprise was on the lovely track 'The Old Forest' with the use of acoustic guitars. Other than that, this is mostly electronic music that moves slowly, but echoes of wide, frozen expanses. I am glad that there isn't a lot of percussion on here since it is mostly electronic and it gives credence to the dark ambience that permeates most of the album. It isn't for everyone, but as far as ambient electronica, it is very well done with a few nice surprises tucked away for those that are patient.

Report this review (#2136843)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Like Synergy being the name for Larry Fast's electronic project of the 1970s and '80s, Breidablik is the name of a Norwegian electronic project from a guy named Moten Birkeland Nielsen. Nhoohr is the second vinyl release, the third full release overall, and is by far the lengthiest release so far. Once again the Schulze and Tangerine Dream influences are felt, and while there is a lot of familiar territory still covered, I really felt the addition of acoustic guitar on "The Old Forest" was a nice addition. Also the inclusion of drum machine on "Perihelion" was something brand new as well. It's really hard to pick a highlight, as usual with a Breidablik album, but once again proves that Morten is one of the great, newer electronic artists that fans of the Berlin School can get behind (although amusingly, he calls what he does the Bergen School of Electronic Music, mainly due to the fact he's based out of Bergen, Norway). If you need something more upbeat, this isn't for you, but for me, I still can't help but be reminded of the snowy, rocky jagged mountain of Norway. The eerie cover really helps. Really worth your time, once again.
Report this review (#2151397)
Posted Saturday, March 2, 2019 | Review Permalink
2 stars Kindly an acquaintance lended me this Breidablik (2019) NHOOR CD, forewarning me that this was a a declared tribute of Mr. Breidablik to old timers in the Berlin school tradition. I guess the intention would have had a better impression if I actually liked tributes or repetitions, but I donīt like tributes which actually offer no big deal but identifying the effort with famous names and hoping people like repetitions and want to pay real money for effortless & unoriginal works.

I who, actually, own synths and their corresponding gadgets and better yet have played with them, could hardly respect anyone who tries to sell me other peopleīs music language as tributes and have the guts to charge me for those kind of works. Am I supposed to applaud impersonators? There is where I draw a line between having retro nostalgia fun (or being friends with the respective "artist" ) and recommending it to other real and eager for new PE music followers who would pay with real money and not forged one.

Well, after 7 listenings, I was not amused, in fact the only positive thing that came from those 7 listenings was to come to terms with the idea which underlines the concept of how children prefer repetitions opposite to novelty. This concept was discussed by the long gone master writer Jorge Luis Borges in one of his essays.

Now as for what to expect from this release it all has to do with this concept, if you like TD or Schulze (even though Conrad Schnitzler is mentiones in this albumīs marketing ad, he really is just mentioned, but there is no kind of tribute to his music) and love those acts up to the point of actually spending money to feel like they are buying what already has been done by someone else but blindly thinking that it is new, you are in for a thrill. If not well , welcome to the club.

Well........, what else, my friend likes this stuff, I donīt, and less applaud or overrate unoriginal music disguised as "tribute", which somehow is so freely and uncritically accepted in this PAīs sub-genre.

** generous stars.

Report this review (#2249411)
Posted Saturday, September 7, 2019 | Review Permalink

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