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ULVER

Post Rock/Math rock • Norway


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Ulver picture
Ulver biography
Founded in Oslo, Norway in 1993 - Still active as of 2019

ULVER are a Norwegian trio who started life as a black-metal band. They have gradually developed an experimental Progressive Metal style and their avante-garde sound is seen to best effect on their 2005 release, Blood Inside. The current line-up (as of July 2004) is Kristoffer Garm Rygg, Jørn H. Sværen, and Tore Ylwizaker. Former members include guitarist Grellmund who committed suicide in late 1997 and Håvard Jørgensen who contributes guitar on their latest album. Related bands include Coil and Borknagar.

Photo by Kerry O'Sullivan (2009)

Apart from their latest album, "Blood Inside", other notable experimantal and progressive works include Themes from William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", released in 1998 and "Metamorphosis" and "Perdition City" which are even more experimental than the "Blake Album" especially in their use of electronics.

See also:
-Arcturus
-Borknagar

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Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And HellThemes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven And Hell
INDIE RECORDINGS N.A. 2019
$17.40
$12.59 (used)
Teachings in SilenceTeachings in Silence
INDIE RECORDINGS N.A. 2019
$12.91
Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden (Re-issue 2019)Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden (Re-issue 2019)
Century Media 2019
$23.35
$26.89 (used)
KveldssangerKveldssanger
Head Not Found 2019
$12.34
$7.77 (used)
RiverheadRiverhead
House of Mythology 2017
$11.94
$13.51 (used)
Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2019)Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler (Re-issue 2019)
Century Media 2019
$27.98
BergtattBergtatt
INDIE RECORDINGS N.A. 2019
$12.18
$16.21 (used)
Shadows Of The SunShadows Of The Sun
INDIE RECORDINGS N.A. 2019
$11.54
$25.00 (used)
The Assassination Of Julius CaesarThe Assassination Of Julius Caesar
House of Mythology 2017
$24.27
$26.98 (used)
Sic Transit Gloria MundiSic Transit Gloria Mundi
EP
House of Mythology 2018
$7.84
$11.01 (used)

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ULVER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ULVER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 153 ratings
Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
1994
3.58 | 105 ratings
Kveldssanger
1996
3.09 | 104 ratings
Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
1997
3.84 | 115 ratings
Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
1998
3.93 | 195 ratings
Perdition City - Music To An Interior Film
2000
3.73 | 67 ratings
Lyckantropen Themes (OST)
2002
3.37 | 64 ratings
Svidd Neger (OST)
2003
3.83 | 160 ratings
Blood Inside
2005
4.06 | 261 ratings
Shadows Of The Sun
2007
3.87 | 160 ratings
Wars Of The Roses
2011
3.64 | 72 ratings
Childhood's End - Lost & Found From The Age Of Aquarius
2012
4.02 | 146 ratings
Ulver & Tromsø Chamber Orchestra: Messe I.X - VI.X
2013
3.36 | 47 ratings
Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials
2014
3.08 | 12 ratings
Riverhead (OST)
2016
3.67 | 91 ratings
The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
2017

ULVER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 12 ratings
Live at Roadburn
2013
4.63 | 16 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
2013
4.03 | 45 ratings
ATGCLVLSSCAP
2016
3.54 | 8 ratings
Drone Activity
2019

ULVER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.61 | 38 ratings
The Norwegian National Opera
2011

ULVER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 2 ratings
The Trilogie: Three Journeyes Through The Norwegian Netherworlde
1997
3.79 | 31 ratings
Teachings in Silence
2002
2.89 | 8 ratings
1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines
2003
3.00 | 3 ratings
Oddities And Rarities #1
2012
4.60 | 6 ratings
Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997
2014

ULVER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.06 | 21 ratings
Vargnatt
1993
2.00 | 4 ratings
Rehearsal 1993
1993
2.52 | 26 ratings
Metamorphosis
1999
3.10 | 22 ratings
Silence Teaches You How to Sing
2001
3.18 | 22 ratings
Silencing the Singing
2001
3.81 | 39 ratings
A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP
2003
2.33 | 3 ratings
Roadburn EP
2012
3.18 | 11 ratings
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
2017

ULVER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Drone Activity by ULVER album cover Live, 2019
3.54 | 8 ratings

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Drone Activity
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars My first thought on hearing this album was "Wait. This is the same band that did The Assassination of Julius Caesar in 2017?" I guess the title and the very apt artwork should've hinted that this would be a bit different.

As well-executed as Drone Activity is, I'd probably be more impressed if I wasn't already familiar with early Tangerine Dream or with Klaus Schulze's 1970s output. Certainly the twenty-two-minute centerpiece "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" is Schulzian, and while the rest of the album doesn't sound precisely like 1970s ambient Krautrock, it resembles it in spirit. For example, compared to "Twenty Thousand," "Blood, Fire, Woods, Diamonds" is more obviously constructed using virtual instruments on a DAW, but nonetheless, it's a seemingly endless loop with minor variations.

Similarly, although swaths of the opening and closing works ("True North" and "Exodus") are more atmospheric and more amorphous than the middle tracks, it all fits. And it's pretty spacey. Listening to Drone Activity, I get the feeling once in a while that an Ozrics tune or a Barrett-era Pink Floyd number is right around the corner - - although much more frequently, I get the sense that whatever loop I'm currently experiencing is truly endless, and I begin to wonder whether I'm imagining tiny deviations or actually hearing them.

Like Ulver's last full-length album, The Assassination of Julius Caesar, Drone Activity is unspectacular but good. But that's about the only point of similarity. The Assassination of Julius Caesar was popular music: verses and choruses, melodies and rhythms, lyrics and hooks - - that sort of thing. Drone Activity is art music. Rarely does it allude to any sort of traditional western form, and then only vaguely (e.g., parts of the middle and end of "Exodus"). And whereas The Assassination of Julius Caesar was quite evidently a group effort, much of Drone Activity is so focused as to suggest a single vision. And its resemblance to a studio-assembled work further strengthens the sense I get of Drone Activity is the product of a single artist.*

Anyway, this is a good album. The most obvious downside is its length; although I'm not aware of a vinyl LP release, the four songs here are each roughly an LP side long; this is, in effect a double album. And like so many double albums, it might've been better as a single album - - in particular, I can imagine the interior tracks ("Twenty Thousand" and "Blood, Fire") constituting a unified, thirty- or forty-minute work.

Although Ulver is listed as a post-rock group, I'd recommend Drone Activity to anyone interested in a modern take on the spacey side of 1970s Krautrock.

====

*According to Ulver's bandcamp page, my sense is wrong; via intentionally imprecise language, Drone Activity is presented as a live album performed by a group.

 Drone Activity by ULVER album cover Live, 2019
3.54 | 8 ratings

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Drone Activity
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is a live album? Could've fooled me! (Again).

Another great album of ambient mood adventures--four epic length ones--once again enlisting the participation of multi-instrumental journeyman and all-around prog all-star, Daniel O'Sullivan (GUAPO, GRUMBLING FUR, ÆTHENOR, MOTHLITE, MIASMA & THE CAROUSEL OF HEADLESS HORSES, CHROME HOOF, CERBERUS CHOAL). (I guess after ten years of work with Kristoffer Rygg & Co. I should be finally accepting as fact that he is a real and permanent part of Ulver.) Upon repeated listens, I find two of the songs draw me in and keep me there while two lose me. That fine line between droning background music and exciting, engaging foreground music is one that Ulver has always had trouble negotiating with me--except in concert format: I've found everything the band does in concert to be mesmerizing and thoroughly engaging. (But, then, the video and light shows accompanying their stage performances--not to mention their enlisted participation of choir and/or orchestral support--definitely add a different dimension to their music--one that is perhaps under-represented in the studio album versions. I guess the point is: see them live or buy their DVDs, that's where you'll experience the real magic of Ulver music!)

1. "True North" (16:11) (23/30) 2. "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea" (21:48) (41/45) 3. "Blood, Fire, Woods, Diamonds" (16:43) (28/35) 4. "Exodus" (15:50) (27/30)

Total Time 70:32

Four stars; a solid contribution to the Prog World lexicon.

I still think this is a studio album.

 Svidd Neger (OST) by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.37 | 64 ratings

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Svidd Neger (OST)
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars By 2003, Ulver had already established the fact that they were a lot more than a doom metal band. They had released their 3 "black metal" albums, though there was a lot of variation in their sound even then, then made the ambitious album based on William Blake's "Marriage of Heaven and Hell", and proved to the world that they were not going to be pigeonholed into any one type of sound. Then there was the excellent album "Perdition City" which many consider their best album which showed that they could pretty much explore any sound they wanted to. After diving into a more minimalist approach, they released the EPs "Metamorphosis", "Silence Teaches You How to Sing", and "Silencing the Singing" and then exploring it further in the album "Lyckantropen Themes". Now, the band was going to release their first real soundtrack for a full length film "Svidd Neger" which was music inspired by an actual Norweigian film of the same name.

This music proves to be less minimalistic than the previous album, yet it is still mostly instrumental. The music is quite laid back, yet they also proved that laid back music could also be sinister and dark. The movie was very controversial, and had an angry overtone which included racial slurs, axe murders, and other questionable themes, but the music itself is quite beautiful and heartfelt. Most of the tracks are quite orchestral and short. There are 16 tracks, but the total time is only 32 minutes with the final track taking up over 6 minutes, leaving the other tracks to be 3 and a half minutes or less. The music is also soft and pensive, lovely and sometimes slightly dissonant, but always looking inward. Most of the tracks flow into each other like one continuous track, but the individual tracks each have unique thoughts and atmosphere to them. There is a lot of use of keyboards and orchestral styles, mostly with real instruments, strings and brass, not electronically produced, except for maybe a lot of the percussion.

The music is not just good for background, but also for serious listening. It is enjoyable enough to just put on and sit back, listening closely and letting your mind interpret the music on its own. Even with a lot of beauty, there is also some elements of horror and foreboding connected to some of the more experimental tracks as "Somnam" and the contrast of screaming sounds against the lovely piano notes playing the main theme in "Wild Cat". There are plenty of dynamic texture in this album too, like the sudden outburst of dramatic intensity and heavier drumming in "Rock Massif, Pt. 1" and "Pt. 2". One of the highlight themes is that presented in "Waltz of King Karl", with the obvious 3 / 4 time of the waltz contrasting with the soft trumpet, accordion, sawing sounds of the cello, the plucked strings and the menacing undertone of it all, which also continues in "Sadface", but with a slightly adjusted meter sounding like waltz in cut time, while disturbing electronic sounds come in later that follow a completely different meter.

When all is said and done, this is an excellent soundtrack album, albeit short. The music is right on the high standards of other soundtracks presented by other great bands like Art Zoyd. Though, in this album, there is less of an avant-prog sound than AZ, there are some elements of experimentalism in there, but the music flows along beautifully for the most part. Yes, there are better Ulver albums out there, but this one should not be ignored just because it is a soundtrack album. It shows the continued growth of a band that has proven that they can dabble in almost anything they want, make it sound great and put their own stamp on it. This is easily a 4 star album.

 The Assassination Of Julius Caesar by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.67 | 91 ratings

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The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A very modern, electronic album,The Assassination of Julius Caesar is nothing at all what I expected. First of all, I thought it had something to do with, well, the assassination of Julius Caesar. Interesting concept, I thought. Second, although they're classified as Post Rock here, I had understood Ulver to be a progressive-metal outfit. So you can imagine my surprise when The Assassination of Julius Caesar turned out to be an art-pop (or maybe art-rock?) album on which Julius Caesar is at best a minor character.

The Assassination of Julius Caesar has been referred to as synthpop, and I agree. Among the influences here is Gary Numan: the lyrical mood of The Assassination of Julius Caesar is dark and often introverted, but not quite as robotic as Kraftwerk - - and much more somber than Kraftwerk or Devo. In this respect it reminds me of some Human League songs (e.g., "Seconds").

As to the lyrical content, there is a vague theme, even if it's not the assassination of Julius Caesar. Many of the songs reference dark moments in history, sometimes prosaically: "Nero lights up the night / 18th to 19th of July, AD 64;" "There used to be a house at 6114 California Street / 'Helter Skelter.'" In addition to the Great Fire of Rome and the Manson murders (by way of the Church of Satan), reference is made to the Bubonic Plague, the death of Princess Diana and the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. But there are many less literal lyrics which seem to fit the theme, such as "an army charges upon the land to the sound of retreat." This is all fodder for religious allusions, and the lyrics duly name-check a pair of Catholic saints; cite, but do not name an "ancient goddess of the moon;" and refer to both the Roman persecution of Christians and the Second Coming. And perhaps as an amplification of a Greco-Roman lineage of tyranny, Oedipus makes an oblique appearance in the second of two songs to mention Nero. The title of one of the songs, "Angelus Novus," may hint at the lyrical concept. Angelus Novus is a 1920 graphic-art print about whose subject Walter Benjamin wrote, "where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet." This déjà vu is also represented by repetition: in addition to literal repetition of stanzas, there are other repetitions; two of the eight songs mention the moon, while two other mention the sun, for example.

As well thought-out and economical as the lyrics are, the concept underlying The Assassination of Julius Caesar is more engrossing than the actual product. There are several excellent musical passages, but there are also plenty of mundane melodies and chord progressions.

Nonetheless, I consider The Assassination of Julius Caesar to be a "good" album: imperfect, but better than average. I'd especially recommend it to fans of 1980s synthesizer-based pop or rock music.

 Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.36 | 47 ratings

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Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars Ulver is the band of the ever-changing genre, and with their 13th album 'Terrestrials', which is actually a collaboration album with the drone band 'Sunn O)))', they continue to prove this. The album was released in 2014 and is comprised of 3 long and live improvised performances that were later enhanced with other studio additions. The music is slow moving, based on the droning quality of 'Sunn O)))' and the experimental style (or non-style) of 'Ulver'.

'Let There Be Light' is based around a drone style that slowly changes chords in a deep, dark background while heavy percussion crashes and a trumpet provides a slow moving improvisation on top of everything. The music builds on a slow crescendo until when it reaches the end, becomes quite majestic.

'Western Horn' has a more unsettling sound beginning with a deep, wavering drone, then other layers start building over the top of this, creating their own droning sound and a wavering metallic texture created by brass and strings. The sound has got an ancient prehistoric vibe to it. Emerging from the thick drone is a higher pitched texture that just wavers on the edge of being able to break away from the increasing wall of sound. This track is carried slowly forward by a sustained chord progression and by another slow crescendo. At almost 10 minutes, it is the shortest track on the album.

'Eternal Return' starts with the deep chiming of a guitar that sounds somewhat distant while a violin and vibe-like keys move along slowly and cautiously. It has an almost lumbering feel to it and the keys, even though they are bright, do not brighten things up much at all. At 7 minutes, the background noise stops and the track enters into a more melodic sound and Rygg sings in sotto-voce, soft and airy while the strings play and the piano churns out slow chords. Later, he sings out more as the melody takes him to higher notes. After 10 minutes, things get a bit noisier and then tapers off to a more ambient, yet discordant style.

Considering the amazing talent of the two bands involved here, you would have high expectations for quite an amazing collaboration, but the expectations never really get reached. You have to be in the right mood to really enjoy this completely, and even though it is good, meditative or trance-like music, it doesn't quite deliver the goods you would expect. Sure you should expect atmospheric, droning and slow moving music, but it seems to be a little aimless and not quite at the level one expects. It is good for the occasional listen, but there are so many other great albums out there, by both bands, that I would choose over this one. The bar is set so high for both bands though and more direction would have gone a long way for this collaboration.

 Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.84 | 115 ratings

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Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars Ulver's 4th full length studio album really pissed off a lot of people, especially lovers of Black Metal. This was their first big step away from that style, though it really shouldn't have been as big of a surprise to anyone. I mean, look at their first 3 albums. The first one was a genius mix of black metal and folk metal, gothic in a way, mostly quite loud, vocals that sounded like harmonized monks and a lot more depth than the typical noise metal. The 2nd album was strictly a dark folk concentrating on the acoustic sound, yes it was dark, and the fans accepted it because of it's organic sound. The 3rd album was a study in harsh noise and was the closest thing to the black metal sound. So it was a surprise at the sudden turn that Ulver took here, it was definitely a much wider leap than they took previously. The band always claimed they were not black metal, and now they were out to prove it.

Kristoffer Garm Rygg (Garm) is the leader of the group, and during the break between "Natten's Madrigal" and "Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", he learned how to utilize computers and electronics to add another dimension to the music. I don't know if he had something to prove about Ulver's music, but he wasn't about to be pinned down to one style of music, and his desire to explore other genres shows that he is truly an artist. This undertaking, to make an album based upon this book, was definitely a daunting one, but he was so affected by the writing of William Blake, the band dove into it completely. What resulted was this shocking turn about that in my opinion is nothing short of a masterpiece.

After listening to Natten's Madrigal, this album will come as a complete shock, and you will think you are hearing another band completely. The music is no longer an inpenetrable wall of noise and growling vocals. All of the vocals on this album are clean, they can be harsh at times, but they are melodic more than anything. Also, four other vocalists were recruited to help out on vocals, both female and male. The styles of music on this album varies extensively, going from ambient to melodic to heavy, but always somewhat complex with passages of avant garde style and industrial metal all through the album. The most shocking thing here though, is the sudden use of electronics in the music. This was probably the hardest thing for fans to swallow. But the use of them in this music is genius.

The album is, of course, a musical interpretation of the poem by William Blake. Together with composer Tore Ylwizaker who Garm invited into the band, Garm developed a plan for the album which ended up going way beyond black metal and incorporating several styles. Sure there are places where the styles clash and the changes are abrupt, but interestingly enough, it all works out. The fact that this music could sound as good as it does is a testament to the genius of Ulver and the huge risk they took to produce a record such as this. It is many times beyond description, or at least hard to describe in just a short review. There are just so many sides to it all, and chances are, there is something here that will attract almost anyone, as long as they can get their head around the material. But there will be passages that will turn many off, so an open mind is definitely needed.

Even then, this isn't for everyone because it is quite complicated and it is also imperfect. But those imperfections all become part of the journey and after some listens, they make sense in the total picture. Because of their willingness to try so many different styles and their varied output, they have become one of my favorite bands. In most every case (there have been a few minor failures), they not only surprise with every album, they do it all so well, jumping from one style to the next. But there is always that dark undertone that comes with their music, something that always makes it sound unique, and you usually know quite quickly who it is you are listening to. Since this was their first major step into unpredictability from one album to the next, it seems right to use this review to discuss this path that the band has chosen. The music is too varied and complicated to try to pick apart and analyze, but the album is worth listening to at least once because of its importance to the band and the compositional complexity of it all. It remains a masterpiece in my opinion and should be something that serious progressive rock lovers should hear.

 The Assassination Of Julius Caesar by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.67 | 91 ratings

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The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Not being familiar with the vast discography of this Norwegian collective, and aware of their post-rock designation, I was pleasantly surprised that "The Assassination of Julius Caesar" has much less to do with the musical cataclysms of that genre and much more to do with a prog oriented spin on the New Romantic era of the 1980s. Now that's not as far fetched as one might imagine. Some of the more resourceful bands of that time had recaptured the flag of self indulgence that their punk forefathers had scoffed at less than a decade earlier. Thank goodness for that, and ULVER distills that blend of gaiety and gravity as though they have been practicing it since their inception, which maybe they have.

Others have experienced flashbacks to their huge hair favourites while dialed in to this recording, by house phone of course. I'm going to add to the list by tossing a crumb in the direction of MICHAEL CRETU's ENIGMA, particularly on the epic "Rolling Stone", which unfortunately degenerates into the same quagmire that defines the ending of every post rock track ever. The trio of "Southern Gothic", "Angelus Novus" and "Transverberation" best distill the reverbed reverb, booming yet sullen vocals, and drawn out melodies of that time. The latter is perhaps the best SIMPLE MINDS song never recorded by SIMPLE MINDS.

"The Assassination..." doesn't push the boundaries of its retro style in a momentous manner, which might be more blessing than curse. I suppose they do take a stab at it in the final track, and its not quite the bloodbath one might have expected.

 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines by ULVER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
2.89 | 8 ratings

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1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars This compilation album, which is really a remix album, was released as recognition to Ulver for their first decade of music. The remixes here were carefully done by artists selected by Ulver, and are all glitch, noise and ambient artists, plus one new Ulver track. The sound is quite similar to the minimalist approach that Ulver was taking at the time with their music. The remixes take small snippets of past Ulver tracks and turn them into something new, but, for the most part, don't expect to recognize the originals, because these tracks have been changed up into completely new tracks by the remix artists. Most of the tracks are based on source material from 'Perdition City' and the 3 EPs that came out around the same time. But there is also source material from the 'William Blake' album, 'Lyckantropen Themes' and 'Nattens Madrigal', but the remixes don't just concentrate on only one track, but incorporate aspects from various tracks within an album. I'm not going to attempt to tell you where the source material comes from on each track, because, quite frankly, it is very hard to determine in most cases. I will try to tell you what to expect though, on a track by track basis.

The album starts out with 'Crack Bug' which is the Ulver original. Starting with some percussive sounds, a moody and dark non-melodic and processed sound plays and this evolves into a sudden loud orchestra of tonal noise. It's interesting, and quite different from where the band was at at the time, because they were experimenting with minimalism and ambience, but this almost the opposite of that.

''A Little Wiser Than the Monkey, Much Wiser Than Seven' (Alexander Rishaug) begins with a high pitched metallic noise/drone with clicks and ticks. Finally, a tonal pattern starts from a synth which establishes a quasi melody, then a rough, industrial guitar sound begins and it seems to pulsate more than strum. The glitchy quality that surrounds the otherwise constant sound gives it an interesting personality. Suddenly the sound stops and things turn more ambient. The heavy sound returns later, but a bit more subdued, but it soon expands into a noise drone. This again diminishes before the end.

'Track Slow Snow' (Information) starts ambient with fluttering clicks and staccato percussive noises. Manipulated tones try to break through and this established a pattern a found and lost again quasi-melody. For a while it goes quite minimal before a processed bass begins to bring it back again. The manipulated pattern recommences. This is very cool sounding and has a slight funk/jazz feel to it even while being mostly minimalistic.

'Lycantropen Remix' (The Third Eye Foundation) utilizes processed snippets of the theme from the soundtrack surrounded by clicks, pops, and processed bell-like sounds. This is probably the most melodic of the tracks thus far, but even then, it is quite sporadic sounding. Later, swirling sythns and guitars give an almost dreamy, dronelike quality that stays in the background.

'Lost in Moments (Remix)' (Upland) has a drone in the background, some various noises like whispered voices, and some percussive glitching. The drone swirls around everything and a drumming pattern lurks subdued in the corner.

'Bog's Basil & Curry Powder Potatoes Recipe' (Bogden Raczynski) has a chip-glitch melody and style that sounds like a humorous video game soundtrack of sorts. It's a nice light-hearted track among a lot of dark and brooding ones. The frantic 1st half gives way to a more laid back 2nd half.

'Der Alte' (Martin Horntveth) starts with German dialogue, possibly from a movie maybe (?) while a string-like melody plays in the background. A soft percussion pattern starts when the dialogue stops and the melody continues. The spoken word starts again, and then suddenly everything else breaks down except for a minimal synth sound and the dialogue continues. Soon the strings come back and establish the melody again.

'He Said ' She Said' (Neotropic) is quite ambient with various noises for the first 2 minutes, then a sudden loud and heavy processed riff takes over with a steady rhythm. At 3:30, it breaks down to atmospheric sounds and a static style drone with occasional percussion. After a minute, the heavy riff and rhythm returns. There seems to be a heavily processed voice trying to sing out, but it stays muffled. The last minute returns to ambient sounds.

'I Love You, But I Prefer Trondheim, Pts. 1 ' 4' (A. Wiltzie vs. Stars of the Lid) begins with a nice, processed yet full orchestral sound, with an introduction that sounds quite familiar. After 3 minutes, this is replaced by a beautiful piano/electronic passage that moves along slowly. After a few minutes, there are some slight orchestral swells and the keyboards fade as the swells become a dynamic drone that ebbs and flows. Soon, a shimmering sound accompanies the loud to soft wave-like pattern. Definitely a stand-out track at over 10 minutes of beauty.

'Only the Poor Have to Travel' (Fennesz) is a mix of glitchy sounds with occasional keyboard snippets and atmospheric sounds traveling from one speaker to the other. It's a good one to hear with headphones and has a nice apocalyptic or otherworldly atmosphere to it.

'Ulvrmxsw5' (Pita) is the first of the last 4 tracks which are all noise oriented tracks. This one is more of a organized noise track that breaks up the source material into a virtual sound collage. All of this is under-layered by a somewhat high-pitched drone. All of the snippets seem to be sucked into the vortex of the drone becoming part of it, layer upon layer.

'Wolf Rotorvator' (Jazzkammer) is a short, dynamic noise piece that can get rather loud for short bursts. It's like 'Nattens Madrigal' was put into a blender. 'The Decent of Men' (VM) seems like a continuation of the previous track, with more noise and less dynamics. Once again, it is rather short and is probably a great track for those that like the sound of a vacuum cleaner on the fritz.

'Vow Me Ibrzu' (Merzbow) is another 10 minute track. It starts out with a repeating musical pattern that sounds like all of the sound has been flattened. It's not long before a huge layer of noisiness comes in. Among the noise drone, you can hear shadows of mostly unintelligible Ulver tracks, all mixed together. This finally stops after 4 minutes and it turns into a more minimal sound of repeating patterns but quite subdued and much fewer this time. At 6 minutes, you can hear a familiar section from one of Ulver's classics with some female vocals in the background. All of this is mixed somewhat flat, and soon, evil sounding noises come along and eat it all up, and then new repeating riffs and patterns create another noisy drone.

This is an interesting mix of styles. There are only a few places where you can recognize snippets of Ulver music, but it is mostly so processed that it all becomes new. I like most of it, but some of it can drag on a little long, and I get tired of the noise tracks quite quickly. Except for a few tracks, I would consider the Ulver original tracks much better. It is interesting to hear what you can do with recycled music, but I would put on an Ulver album over this anyday. There are some nice tracks and passages throughout though, so I believe everything evens out into a 3 star collection/collaboration.

 The Norwegian National Opera by ULVER album cover Live, 2013
4.63 | 16 ratings

BUY
The Norwegian National Opera
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Wow! What a show! What a concert! The band (with the help of some stellar all-stars like Christian Fennesz and Thomas Pettersen) brings out the best in each song from the span of a long career of diverse musical sounds and styles and fuses it all into one seemless show. The visuals on display on the above-stage film screen couples well with the extraordinary lighting. I love the editing throughout though perhaps more time could have been spent on Garm while he's singing his powerful and heart-felt vocals and less on rather routine and unsurprising keyboard manipulations.

Each time I play this disc I end up watching the whole thing because I get sucked into feeling as if I'm right there in the audience. Favorites include virtually everything though this version of one of the greatest songs ever written, "EOS" from "Shadows of the Sun," tops even the wonderful original. "Little Bird," "A Memorable Fancy," and "Not Saved" are striking, memorable, and sublime.

This is a concert that I would have loved to have been present for but am so glad the DVD exists. Highly recommended.

 The Norwegian National Opera by ULVER album cover DVD/Video, 2011
4.61 | 38 ratings

BUY
The Norwegian National Opera
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars One of the greatest, most powerful live concert DVDs I've ever seen, the producers/editors have done a wonderful job of making the listener/viewer feel as if they are right there in the concert hall. Each and every reproduction of often-familiar Ulver songs is embellished or transformed to such a degree as to make them better than the originals. Such power! I wish I had been able to be present for such a soul-filling experience!

Favorite Songs: "EOS," "Not Saved," and "Little Blue Bird." The video visuals up on the screen make for such a more powerful experience! Thank you so much Kristoffer Rygg (vocals, programming), Daniel O'Sullivan (guitars, bass, keyboards), Jørn H. Sværen (miscellaneous), Tore Ylwizaker (keyboards, programming), Christian Fennesz (guitar), Ole Alexander Halstensgå­rd (theremin, electronics), Tomas Pettersen (drums, percussion), and Ian Johnstone (visual performance). Another production that exhibits the high artistic capacity of our species!

Thanks to tony r for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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