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Ulver Scary Muzak album cover
2.42 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aleen Howl (4:07)
2. Ateliers Hume (2:21)
3. Genet Nightingale (2:21)
4. Addi Fled Hon (3:52)
5. Alchemist Salk (2:18)
6. Boo Sackloth (1:44)
7. Evil Longbows (3:31)
8. Club Fuego (4:47)
9. Achilles Milk (2:14)
10. Ecm Panorama (4:56)
11. Redrum Al Brut (1:34)
12. Rip Brouhaha (4:31)

Total Time 38:16

Line-up / Musicians

- Ulver / synthesizers

Releases information

LP / Cassette / Digital House Of Mythology HOM028 (2021)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
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ULVER Scary Muzak ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(14%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (36%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ULVER Scary Muzak reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
2 stars Dreamy but scary electronika, and ULVER's spirit and intention for experimentalism are still alive, under such a pandemic situation. Their latest album "Scary Muzak" has another subtitle "Pandemic Pastime Project" which would mean all Ulverians enjoyed playing and recording the material for this creation 'virtually', I guess. Like scary background music via the air, time dominated by coronavirus goes forward slowly. We are afraid whether we could see the light in near future, but it sounds like they would mention we should never give up under such a dark circumstance ... by the words "Pandemic Pastime" and their gloomy but flowery opus. Although this creation cannot'be called as progressive rock, their strongly positive attitude for creativity should be heard. In addition, we could feel their energy to bring a happy life back directly via it.

As mentioned above, we cannot hear any 'rock' element but kinda electronic / ambient features through this album. The first shot "Aleen Howl" is a good example. Repetitive phrases constructed with synthesizers sound a bit critical, and stereotyped rhythmic vibes are inorganic but mystically addictive. Good to hear some powerful beats too. "Genet Nightingale" makes us impatient with the current tough situation, maybe like themselves. On the contrary, the following track "Addi Fled Hon" sounds more hopeful and thankful, the last scene is slightly tragic though. In "Club Fuego" we can enjoy dramatic, theatrical movements produced with beautiful, atmospheric keyboard plays. It's well understood that they would elaborate this album fully with cooped-up feelings and resistance against the feelings. Easily imagined they have sometimes got addicted to electronic pop upon the production. We the audience can find out the essence ... that's why such a scary muzak sounds somewhat enjoyable and delightful. Not progressive nor rock-ish but fascinating nonetheless.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars ULVER continues to be Norway's greatest shapeshifters having released material that is as diverse as black metal, dark folk and progressive avant-garde post industrial metal to ambient electronic and even synthpop. Well here's another one for the resume. Released on Halloween of 2021, ULVER has unleashed its first horror synth album that mixes progressive electronic and synthwave to celebrate the holiday cheer. Creepy and suspenseful and filled with dark ominous tones and timbres, SCARY MUZAK is definitely not where anybody could've predicted this band would go!

This album is more than just scary music for the Halloween holiday's sake but is a reinterpretation of John Carpenter's soundtrack music for the film. To be more accurate, SCARY MUZAK features five covers of classic soundtrack works of JC with the remaining seven tracks originals inspired by those pieces and put into the context of scary synthesizer sounds. Somewhat in the vein of Buckethead's countdown to Halloween marathon in 2015 but sounding more like the scary soundtrack music of the Italian proggers Goblin except ULVER jettisons all rock aspects altogether.

ULVER has had a somewhat fluid lineup over its 30 years of history. This album features the quartet of Ole Alexander Halstensgård (electronics), Kristoffer Rygg (percussion), Tore Ylwizaker (synthesizer) and Stian Westerhus (guitar) although i can't say i hear much guitar taking place so i guess that they are probably processed beyond recognition. The music while mostly electronically based on synthesizers flows a lot like a classical music score with tones and timbres gliding in and out of aural range along with drones, electronic drumbeats, oscillations, pitch slides and other cool electronic accoutrements.

The gist is a beefy bass groove, some strange upper range weirdness and a scary treble keyboard riff which is what sounds the most like the world of Goblin. The percussive drive is varied with some moments feeling tribal and others feeling a bit robotic. The tracks are fairly short and to the point with none exceeding the five minute mark. The album while not a soundtrack score per se certainly does evoke the sense of being one and it's not unfathomable that these tracks would somehow be used in that manner.

While certainly amusing and well executed, the problem with this album is that it does not really convey the scariness of the Halloween holiday however even if the whole point was to emulate the Halloween film's soundtrack, it all seems a bit pointless as the album sounds as if it exists in the world of the Italian film soundtrack powerhouse Goblin. In other words ULVER hasn't found its own niche in crafting this sort of musical mosaic and therefore it sounds rather derivative of the Goblin universe with a particular feel of "Suspiria." Not bad but not exactly what scratches my itch if i have the urge to check out this style of synthesized electronica. What's next ULVER? Marching band renditions of classic ABBA songs? Why the hell not?!!!

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
2 stars Ulver's spookfest? 2021's 'Scary Muzak' is a surprise album by the Norwegian electronic and art rock band, essentially a pretend-soundtrack/score, posing as a celebration of the band members' love for the horror movie genre and the Halloween spirit - all good, but this recording could briefly be disregarded as a boring collection of spooky tunes, scooped up after an unsuccessful Halloween teen party. Well, there might have been a slice of exaggeration here, but the truth is that this so-called studio album is uneventful, absolutely forgettable, unimpressive and quickly tiresome, with all of its dry and already-heard instrumentals (they make them the same in every scary movie).

Moreover, it is a fabulous disappointment if we take it as the follow-up to the previous two synthpop releases by the band, 'Flowers of Evil' and 'The Assassination' - while 'Scary Muzak' might have some glimpses of these aforementioned release, it is the very pale, much weaker and severely less entertaining brother of theirs, and while this one tends to fit the synthwave label more, the fact that it fails to keep the listener attentive is a certain sign that something is wrong. I imagine that if this was to be reduced almost half in length and released as an EP, it might have been received better. Some of the songs are fine, but most of 'Scary Muzak' is just filler and really sounds like leftovers from previous recording sessions.

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