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Ulver - Svidd Neger (OST) CD (album) cover

SVIDD NEGER (OST)

Ulver

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.37 | 64 ratings

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TCat
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.

TCat | 4/5 |

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