Uvesen - III [Arachnidisc Recordings - 2014]Arachnidisc Recordings presents III by Uvesen. Uvensen is a collaborative effort by Norwegian experimental artists: Andreas Brandal and Børre Myklebust. While I’ll admit to being unfamiliar with Myklebust’s body of work, I am on the other hand I’m quite a fan of Brandal’s solo work. I became hooked on his Turning Point album, with it’s Goblin-esque soundscapes colliding with flourishes of noise and further became intrigued by his harsher fare in Flesh Coffin. That said, Uvesen is a different beast altogether.
Before I delve into the music, I have to comment on the packaging which is equal parts clever and annoying. The C44 cassette comes wrapped in plaster bandages. I admire the unconventional approach to packaging, but it did take some tearing to finally free the cassette from bondage. Now you ask….is the music as vexing?
III offers 7 tracks of what I can best describe as abstract instrumental music. It’s quite the departure from what I’ve come to expect from Brandal. For sure his DNA are in the recordings, but I feel like III is predominantly focused on traditional instrumentation, namely: guitar and drums. There is some synth and noise action to be found, but it feels subdued. Through its course, the album drifts from sparsely populated soundscapes of improvised guitar plucks, sustained low end chord strokes and ethereal drones, to brief moments of spastic energy, noisey flourishes, and drumming that moves from free jazz stylings to tribal, bongo sounds. The instrumentals are further fleshed out with junk metal crunch, pulsing synthesizers, and (if my ear hears correctly) some e-bow action. It all comes together in contiguous fashion, like it could be one long track with many different parts. Listening to it, I couldn’t help but imagine being trapped on a barren wasteland with the mysterious sounds on III carrying me in and out of consciousness like a sonic mirage.
III is quite the psychedelic journey. Perhaps not my go to album in the Andreas Brandal canon, but an effective enough soundtrack to late night zone out sessions.Hal Harmon