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Ulver - Ulver & Sunn O))) : Terrestrials CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.31 | 54 ratings

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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.

TCat | 3/5 |


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