Saturday, January 24, 2009

Svarte Greiner - Kappe (2009)

In the wake of the new administration and the general feeling of relief that is being experienced by most reasonable people, it has been hard to listen to music I would categorize as "dark." However, the brand new album by Svarte Greiner sort of throws all those rules out the window and has provided me with one of the most intense and awesome listening experiences I've heard in this new, infant year. While the Animal Collective album is clearly album of the year thus far (if not decade), Greiner's album fills the gap for essential paranoid nighttime listening (which is an actual essential). While Svarte's last solo album "Knive" came out on the wings of the amazing "Dead Sea" by labelmate/head Xela, "Kappe" is something that won't keep Svarte in the shadows much longer. While "Knive" was truly unsettling and sounded like the soundtrack to the scariest movie you've never seen (it all it's minimal glory), "Kappe" provides the listener with something that is dark and frightening, but more along the lines of the sound Greiner explores in his other group Deaf Center.

The album opens with "Tunnels of Love" which is 7 minutes of howling winds carrying screeching voices across miles of hills. In the foreground we hear the constant rattling of chains and windmills, dominating the silence that surrounds them. Soon thereafter a eerie synth loop repeats over and over until the track dissolves into the sound of actually being caught in a tunnel. A statement from the beginning.

"Where Am I" sounds like something that could be used to back some of the more unsettling scenes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The sound of paranoia is clear. With subtle noise fading in and out, this track will have you looking over your shoulder if listened to in the dark. One of those tracks that definitely captures the mood of the title.

"Candle Light Dinner Actress" is more of the same with some strong tweaks. It's not hard to imagine yourself seated in an old haunted building watching ghosts roam about you while you anxiously try to eat dinner. Ridiculous I know, but once you listen, it's hard to shake.

The album closes with "Last Light" which is an interesting track in that it is undoubtedly the loudest of the bunch, with a constant echo and synth line apparent throughout, with other sounds weaving in and out of the mix. However on it's own, parts of the song could sound like it is soundtracking something fresh, providing us with a glimpse of hope and light and life, yet such is obviously not the case. The song wraps up the album as a bright spot, telling the listener "this is it, you're going to fall prey to silence after, so take all of this in."

A great album and likely my second favorite I've heard so far this year.

Type Records