Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: Svartbag - Svartbag (2008, Rump)

Svartbag is a Danish trio making some very interesting and "trippy" music. A.REX and Niels Ladefoged started out as a duo in 2002 with a professed interest in minimalism, krautrock, shoegaze and noise. They were later joined by Peter Kyed. Occasionally they appear as a four-piece with drummer Andreas Hauer-Jensen. In May 2008 they released their debut album reviewed here.

The lineup consists of:
Niels Ladefoged: Guitar, sampler and electronics.
A.REX: Guitar, sampler and electronics.
Peter Kyed: Electronics and real-sounds.

Svartbag - Svartbag image

The review is after the jump.

Bliss in repetition

Danish trio Svartbag (Danish for "gull") was formed in 2002 and has created music that incorporates the raw essence of rock with the hypnotic-like effect of electronics. The trio consists of the two guitarists, Niels Ladefoged and A.REX who also handle samplers and electronics and the third member, Peter Kyed who is in charge of electronics and real sound samplings. In this album they are reinforced on 4 of the tracks by the presence of drummer Andreas Hauer-Jensen.

Taking its influences from krautrock, psychedelic-rock, shoegaze and minimalism, Svartbag present an intriguing view of their musical vision: dark and gripping rich-sounding repetitive tunes, pleasant yet eerie; on a mission to isolate the listener from its environment and surround him with powerful and controlling patterns and sounds. Svartbag's Myspace offers this fitting description of the album: "Svartbag's music can best be described as sonic drones, analogue noise and repetitive space-rock with a touch of ambient and electronica."

There is not much wait, no slow buildup; rather it faces you head on (though not in a bombastic or overly aggressive way) and steals you away from your reality into their musical scenery. It is in fact epic-like, not in length but in scope, in what they achieve with their five compositions, which is a haunting atmosphere, a compelling entourage of sounds. The richness of sound, the flow of each track, the well played and composed tunes, the rhythms and varying moods and influences all sum up synergistically to a fabulous listening experience; one that makes me eager to listen to it again and again. When talking about the magic in music, that something indescribable that grabs you and takes you away from your physical self, this is to me that kind of music.

Svartbag is one of those albums that caught me from first listen. It's refreshingly well-done and well-balanced. A highly enjoyable and recommended release.

Listen here

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