øjeRum - Without Blood The Sun Darkens [Cyclic Law - 2019]
øjeRum, is the brainchild of Danish artist Paw Grabowski who creates a rather crude take on Drone and Ambience.The projects first album There Is A Flaw In My Iris was released in 2007. After this, the project took a break until 2014. Since then, øjeRum has become a rather prolific project, regularly releasing various recordings. From 2014 to the present, the project has released fifteen singles and EP's, two compilations and thirty-two full-length albums. In 2019, German experimental label Cyclic Law released another øjeRum album, Without Blood The Sun Darkens. The album is available as a four-panel Digipak CD, as well as a digital version. Both of these are available for order on the label website, as well as on the Bandcamp pages of the label and the project.
The album cover is a very interesting collage made in a psychedelic style. In the foreground is an image of a Death's-head hawkmoth, with it’s wings spread. Behind it, three pairs of hands are symmetrically located. The lower pair of arms are crossed and resembles some kind of dance gesture. The middle pair of hands are spread out to the side, resembling the gesture of some saint. The upper pair of hands holds a fragment of an engraving depicting the eye. Behind the eye are the spread wings of another butterfly. The bottom of this collaged figure is something wrapped in fabric. Thus, it creates the feeling that this whole collage is a stylization of a bouquet of flowers, at the same time remotely resembling an Egyptian sarcophagus. The cover is created in muted, dirty colors. The general background has a faded brown-red color. In my opinion, this is an excellent art and design work combining mysticism, symbolism and a retro atmosphere. I think that this cover could well go to the album of some psychedelic or progressive band from the 70s, as well as to the album of some modern stoner-doom band. It is also worth mentioning that this style of cover design is a good tradition for øjeRum. The album lasts a little less than fifty-nine and a half minutes and consists of one track.
I’ve heard several øjeRum other albums. And I like Paw Grabowski's approach to sound. It’s a raw, dirty and dark minimalistic take Drone and Ambience, devoid of romanticism. So, being familiar with several of øjeRum ’s earlier works, I generally knew what to expect from listening to this album. From the first sounds and notes, the listener is immersed in the meditative atmosphere of the work. There are only a few notes played either on some kind of ethnic wind instrument, or modeled on a synthesizer, and processed by delay and reverb. Three or four high notes play the main melodic line, supported by low passages. There is no clear melody here, instead there are harmonic combinations of notes, either repeated or played in different sequences. This is backdropped by rather malleable, minimalistic and monotonous feel. There is no active stereo. At its core, it is a single-channel mono sound that is processed by delay and reverb. It is these effects that add depth to the sound and create a not terribly clear stereo sound. I would call this album a good example of a meditative Drone / Ambient with an original "analog" sound. The atmosphere of the album seemed to be very close in spirit to the work of the doom/ drone band Earth. There is the same insinuating slowness and melancholy.
Now - the bad news... As I said - I like the works of Paw Grabowski. I find them original, memorable and atmospheric. Unfortunately, something went wrong with Without Blood The Sun Darkens. I'll try to explain. If an album consisting of one composition (during which practically nothing changes) lasted about 20 or 30 minutes, then I would give a higher rating. But, unfortunately, listening to the same thing for an entire hour is quite a chore. The album started to bother me after 20 minute mark. If, in the case of HNW, the monotony and long duration of the compositions is an advantage rather than a disadvantage, sadly the same approach just doesn't work here . Some time ago, I was doing a review on the Vomir / Discipline multi-cassette split. In contrast to Vomir's uncompromising HNW, Discipline introduced several meditative, monotonous drone tracks that lasted 20 minutes each. I remember that I highly appreciated this work. So - in the case of Without Blood The Sun Darkens - the main problem is the duration of the track. And, in my opinion, this drawback is much more serious than all the above advantages. Towards the end of the composition, the album began to feel really boring and intrusive to me. Of course, I this album more than a few times- but found each as trying as the one before- so I'm afraid I won't be returning to Without Blood The Sun Darkens again- though that said I'd certainly give øjeRum works ago, because as mentioned I do enjoy the projects take on the drone/ ambient genreSergey Pakhomov