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Breidablik - Omicron CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

4.55 | 17 ratings

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5 stars Coming from what the leader of Breidablik calls the "Bergen School of Electronic Music", Morten Birkeland Nielsen returns with another album released in February of 2020. This album is made up of a 2-part track called "Omicron", which is also the name of the album. Breidablik is mostly the project of Nielsen and he plays all synthesizers, acoustic guitars and drum programming on this album. He is joined by Hakon Oftung, whom Nielsen works with on this project quite often, and Oftung plays all electric guitars and flute on this album. A list of all of the musical gear is on the project's ProgArchive page (or also on the Bandcamp page). The album is available as a digital download but also as an LP or CD.

Breidablik as a project has obvious influence from the Berlin Sound, typically sounding ambient and lush, but still quite melodic, and at times the music has a Tangerine Dream influence imbedded in it. The first part of Omicron (22:24) begins with a nice flowing acoustic guitar which brings in the electric guitar backed by a soft texture provided by synths and vocalized choir effects. The music continues, mostly pushed forward by the changing ever changing palette of synth sounds and textures and repeating riffs that come and go, changing often so as to not get stale. As the synths provide different textural backgrounds, the guitar comes in creating lovely and improvised passages and the guitar is quite welcome through this album. Even with the electronic equipment in use here, Nielsen does an excellent job of still making it all seem natural and organic, the instruments creating images of natural beauty to the listener that allows the music to penetrate her mind and allows his head to conjure up pictures of expanse or up close detail, the ever-changing soundscape marking the slow change of nature. The music flows from slow droning sections surrounded by wonderful effects to faster moving passages marked by light percussion or repeated synth riffs that generate a nice forward movement. The last section of Part I suddenly wanders into dark and mysterious territory with heavier, metallic drones that conjure up images of cold, icy landscape, and this is soon mellowed out by the acoustic guitar, ending the first part the same way it begins.

Omicron Part II (20:46) again establishes a soft textural sound with drones and effects from the synths and soft notes from the flute. The electric guitar comes in again with a nice improvised melody and after awhile switches back to the flute, almost giving a Native American feel while the synths provide the soft and flowing foundation. As on the first part, musical sections change throughout creating images of different scenes on your mind. Yesterday, I asked a question "Can you see with your ears?" and this music actually makes that possible. Close your eyes as the music plays and see what pictures form in your mind with the sound that surrounds you. That is the best way to experience this album. But the ever changing textures will also entertain you even if you just choose to simply listen to the music and the addition of the guitar and flute at various section only create more variety to the sound as they don't detract from the overall album, but actually add more dimension.

This album fits right up there with the outstanding classics by the staples of electronic music, namely Tangerine Dream, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, and Jean Michael Jarre, however Breidablik's melodies are a little less subtle, the changes in the sections much less harsh, and the music makes you concentrate a little more. But to the listener that does concentrate, there is a wonderful payoff of variety and change in this music, yet enough exploration to satisfy even the most critical listener. The music is full of beauty and texture everywhere you turn. Even the more experimental and darker sections still are satisfying in the overall picture. It is easy to see why this album is based off of one overall composition and not several smaller ones as the album is meant to be experienced as one entire whole and not little bits and pieces. The music all flows together naturally and takes you in as masterfully as any of the electronic artists that you can think of. This is definitely one of the best modern- day, ambient electronic albums I have heard that is of recent release. 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |


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