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Tuesday 5 November 2019

ALVARS ORKESTER-Woodtrip-(SPH-Portugal-1992)

Alvars Orkester is the Swedish project by Jan Svensson and  Joachim Nordwall, both musicians involved in various labels and projects since the end of the 80s.
 SPH was a  tape label from Portugal, created by Fernando Cerqueira (a member of Ras.Al.Ghul) and featured a wide range of work from artists like Brume, Alvars Orkester and Maeror Tri. 
Here a review originally published on Soft Watch and then re-published on the Discogs page dedicated to this tape.
Enjoy it.
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Side A opens with the title track "Woodtrip". Waves of warm, muted sound sweep in, suggesting heat or isolation, The sound gradually builds, the waves flowing across each other in complementary washes, some deep and resonant, some higher-yet-dulled to give an overall pacifying effect. There is no beat, no rhythmic structure, merely wave-upon-wave of swelling sound. This night be described as New Age Industrial - it's a warm factory/machine sound. The depth of sound abates, leaving the higher tones to describe languid shapes and textures ethereal mists hiding unknown things - the thrill of possible danger coupled with an overall sense of security. "Dance In Halfway Under The Earth" swells in on darker, more Industrial sounds, and the higher pitches give it a desolate, isolated sound once more. Feedback flows through the sound, deep and rich, yet full of potential power, an understated threat that it could at any second smash through your speakers like a bolt of electric blue. These sounds follow each other, complementing each other despite their unusual qualities. It's a long & frankly wonderful piece of sound, reminding me of the little I've heard from ARCANE DEVICE.

Side B opens with "Ihn", rising on warm, even hot electronics a little like THROBBING GRISTLE did with their Industrial Introduction, although this is by far a less threatening, longer piece, twisting & turning through it's limited vocab. The machine sound loses it's subtlety, speaking in angry tones only other machines might comprehend. "Bhaktivizew" follows this, being the first of 4 tracks from 1988. A deep synthetic sound over which a continual patter of sound is heard. A noise penetrates & the whole structure concludes. "Amseeeer" has a basement of synthetic sound over which old dancehall music is played. This fades away & other synth noises, following neither tune nor rhythm puncture the sound, scrawling various images across it. "Teri" fades in on dark sounds, a little like some dark & potentially evil film soundtrack, "Quas" is a strange little thing, a rattling, muffled piece, very brief and hard to describe. Suffice to say it's a jumbled sound. "Lighthouse Service" concludes the album, returning us to the present - this is a 1992 piece. It swells & sprawls in warm shapes & textures, while a higher-pitched-but-distant sound flies across the entire swelling structure. It seems akin to DAVID MYERS' feedback music, and actually grows near a sort of ambient organ music (if there could be such a thing). A calming, warming sound with a strong, darker side to it.

To conclude, the closest comparisons I can come to are those mentioned above, especiallyARCANE DEVICE. If you are into MYERS music, then this is ,without doubt the cassette for you.

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