No review yet of the last Ulver
? I have the same impression that at the time of the previous Deathspell Omega
: alone in front of the latest production of a gigantic band, with the fear of telling big stupidities, but also stimulated by the situation.
In its news, Ulver
has warned us on the overall style of its new album: the opus intended to be more intimate, more personal (in the mean time, saying that Ulver
plays a personal music sounds like a ridiculous pleonasm), softer and more melancholic than its previous offerings. And
indeed, all of this is true.
As usual, Shadows of the Sun
doesn’t sound like any other album produced by Ulver
so far (if the band was starting to repeat itself from album to album even once, I guess we could say the group is heading for disaster). Nevertheless, of course, the previous productions help defining the new one. Shadows of the Sun
forgets the debauchery of Blood Inside
. It comes back to a composition closer from the spirit of Perdition
City, but with some variations, where the influence of Svidd Neger
is also palpable (the jazzy touches of Perdition
City are there, the aerial saxophone is back, but the neoclassic parts are much more present). So, take these two albums, mix them, and try to imagine what could be the result if they were quieter and more nostalgic. Lastly, add a touch of the spirit of Silence Teaches You How to Sing
and you’ll come maybe quite close from what is this Shadows of the Sun
As I’m a nice guy, I’m going to try to explain it otherwise for the neophytes. Ulver
practices an electro/indus style mixed with acoustic instrumentals (piano, saxophone and string instruments). In this opus, this style comes close to an aerial and nostalgic dimension. It’s a more simple description, even if is also a more reductive one. In fact, it is quite difficult to define such an album.
Of The Sun is maybe the less accessible Ulver
’s album so far (apart from Nattens Madrigal
, but for completely different reasons), especially for those not knowing perfectly the band’s discography. One expects some craziness, but there is in fact nearly none. Here, this is trance that Ulver
is really looking for. It’s an album you’ll listen to alone, light off, in the night, with a glass of alcohol in your hand. This album is a real emotional journey, that each of us will live its own way. It is maybe what the band had in mind when they stated that its album was less direct (if one could ever think an Ulver
’s album is direct) and would require the listener to come to the album and not the contrary. Appreciating Shadows of the Sun
is a path you’ll have to follow, not an easy gift of music. But difficulty makes only the trance more beautiful.
So, how shall be judged this album? Yes, Ulver
has created a masterpiece. Ulver
, it keeps gathering the same disparate elements with a genius which explains fully why this album is amazingly good instead of being a complete incomprehensible mess. The band composes more than ever for itself and it exposes its soul. It suggests a two-way journey to the listener: the music gives to the listener as much as the listener has to give from himself to understand the music. And
the journey is worst it. The fans mustn’t not be scared by the aerial, nostalgic and apparently (but apparently only) refined aspect taken this time by the experimental sound debaucheries found previously. For the others, if an album full of calm beauty and deep nostalgia don’t scare them, I would only say: rush at it.
It seems sure now that Garms and his band won’t ever deceive me.
Translated by Heavyboy