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Psychedelic/Space Rock • Denmark

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Svartbag biography

Niels Ladefoged, Peter Kyed, A.REX (left to right)

A.REX and Niels Ladefoged founded SVARTBAG in 2002. The musical inspiration is based on a profound interest in early minimalists, noise, British shoegaze and early German krautrock. The band later expanded to three members with Peter Kyed on treatments (real-sound, drones and electronic beats) and occasionally four with Andreas Hauer-Jensen on drums.

The eponymous debut album released in 2008 holds five songs which can be described as sonic drones, analogue noise and repetitive space-rock with a touch of ambient and electronica. The music spans from dark and disturbing conditions to minimalistic melodies and rhythmic sequences. The live performances are therefore also characterized as long, fluent, dynamical and epical.

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3.67 | 3 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Svartbag by SVARTBAG album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.67 | 3 ratings

Svartbag Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Svartbag" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by Danish post rock act Svartbag. The album was released through Rump Recordings in May 2008. The band was formed in 2001 and features members from the Danish acts The Bleeder Group and Düreforsög.

The music on the album is minimalistic, droning and slow building post rock. There are also some obvious nods toward the early German krautrock scene. I was for example reminded of Neu! when I listened to the second track on the album titled "The Flutist". As mentioned the tracks are very simple and slow building toward multi layered climaxes of droning sounds. The music is predominantly dark and atmospheric. The most accessible track on the album is probably the above mentioned "The Flutist" which is also the shortest track on the album with it´s 5:21 minutes long playing time. The other four tracks ranges from 8 to 14 minutes in length.

The sound production is pretty raw, organic, and unpolished with lots of distorted guitars, electronics and samples mixed together. The production suits the music well. The quality of the compositions is generally high, but you have to be able to appreciate repetition and slow building droning sections. It´s a means to an end though and a way to reach the generally bleak atmosphere that characterizes the album. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

 Svartbag by SVARTBAG album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.67 | 3 ratings

Svartbag Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Danish trio Svartbag (Danish for "gull") was formed in 2002 and has created music that incorporates the raw essence of rock with the hypnotic-like effect of electronics. The trio consists of the two guitarists, Niels Ladefoged and A.REX who also handle samplers and electronics and the third member, Peter Kyed who is in charge of electronics and real sound samplings. In this album they are reinforced on 4 of the tracks by the presence of drummer Andreas Hauer-Jensen.

Taking its influences from krautrock, psychedelic-rock, shoegaze and minimalism, Svartbag present an intriguing view of their musical vision: dark and gripping rich-sounding repetitive tunes, pleasant yet eerie; on a mission to isolate the listener from its environment and surround him with powerful and controlling patterns and sounds. Svartbag's Myspace offers this fitting description of the album: "Svartbag's music can best be described as sonic drones, analogue noise and repetitive space-rock with a touch of ambient and electronica."

There is not much wait, no slow buildup; rather it faces you head on (though not in a bombastic or overly aggressive way) and steals you away from your reality into their musical scenery. It is in fact epic-like, not in length but in scope, in what they achieve with their five compositions, which is a haunting atmosphere, a compelling entourage of sounds. The richness of sound, the flow of each track, the well played and composed tunes, the rhythms and varying moods and influences all sum up synergistically to a fabulous listening experience; one that makes me eager to listen to it again and again. When talking about the magic in music, that something indescribable that grabs you and takes you away from your physical self, this is to me that kind of music.

Svartbag is one of those albums that caught me from first listen. It's refreshingly well-done and well-balanced. A highly enjoyable and recommended release.

 Svartbag by SVARTBAG album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.67 | 3 ratings

Svartbag Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars SVARTBAG is an interesting Danish project collecting diverse influences based on analogue electronics mainly. Drones and loops are significant for the sound like also used by bands which are bordering the space and post rock terrain where the repetitve hypnotic vibe additionally points to diverse krautrock acts.

This is excellently presented with the opener Black Capricorn - a sonic adventure, the drones are not that aggressive - which means the song can evolve dreamy and trippy anyhow. Can't detect if guitars are involved here. Fortunately they invited drummer Andreas Hauer-Jensen who serves a rocking component with his groove and so you can also consider this one as a space rock tune indeed.

The same to say for the next The Flutist, provided with a nice mellow ambience and meandering guitar appearance - fantastic - and one might say way too short! The floating Cairo is based on an industrial humming loop which reminds me of the german project 'Space Explosion' featuring members of Faust and Cluster. But this one is presented more smooth with a slight oriental touch which appeals even better to me.

Loop#9 is reminiscent of Pink Floyd's spacey heyday a little bit as for the keyboard/synthesizer parts where the guitar is not a Gilmour clone at all appearing with an acid bluesy touch I would say. The longest track Billy Name is also reserved to be the last one - for me a less intriguing jam with stoner rock leanings - okay, more subtle compared to other stoner songs in any way and provided with an interesting melancholic ambient section at the end.

SVARTBAG's debut is a highly recommended album - skillfully worked out with a gripping athmospheric texture. Experimental but also melodic, droning but also charming - the songs are successfully uniting elements which are even seemingly controversial. I'm curious what will follow ...

Thanks to rivertree for the artist addition.

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