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Nils Henrik Asheim & Lasse Marhaug - Grand Mutation [Touch - 2007]

Grand Mutation is a gothic tinged sound strew collaboration between Norwegian noise master Lasse Marhaug and fellow Norwegian composer Nils Henrik Asheim. The album conjures up a heady world of improvised church organ, noise and electronic treatments.

The pair got together on several occasions to plan the work, then in June 2006 recorded an hour long improvised piece for church organ and electronic/noise in Oslo Cathedral, while it was shut down for renovation. Recorded at night to cut down on outside sound elements, though goodness knows what any poor passer-by's must have thought of the sound been admitted from the cathedral innards.

The hour long improvised piece was then cut into five tracks and received a final mix in January 2007 to create the finished album. I think the thing that hits you straight away is the way the often doomy and droning church organ is mixed so subtly with Marhaug noise craft. For the most part he never truly lets rip his noise matter, he just add slight shades and rich sonic details to the organ playing, giving the already haunted church organ sound an almost supernatural edge. Latter tracks show Marhaug manipulating and stretching the organs gloomy textures in the great ominous wells of grim sound, or great curtains of droning blood red sound that starts to boil and seethe with whistling noise at the edges.

An rewarding collaboration that manageds to be darkly gothic & beautiful, but at the same time alive with surprising and clever sonic details.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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