Arv & Miljö - Vålnad Av Fornskog
Final installment in Arv & Miljö's seasonal album cycle, this time taking its lead from the tail end of summer. It might be somewhat anachronistic to be dropping this kind of concept a week before Christmas, but for what it's worth, on Vålnad Av Fornskog it don't half sound like every season in Sweden is winter. Despite the alternating seasonal contexts, we're mostly in similar territory to the previous three records in the series. This is what you might typically label as 'ambient' music, but a version thereof that takes cues from folk aesthetics, and uses field recordings and brut-like approaches to tape manipulation to create highly textural, emotionally-rich sounds. It's of no credit to my writing to use such an overused description, but this often feels like very cinematic music making, the five separate passages each their own self-contained stage: a walk alone at night; a train ride through the hinterlands; rain against the window punctuating a lonely domestic scene, and so forth. If this is cinema, it's a very specific type, one of inter-connected vignettes rather than grand gestures, where sadness hides the sun and every second thought is about the past. Simply put, highly evocative, melancholic minimal synth music a million miles removed from the Lifestyle Ambient fashions of the day. In a lot of ways, these four Arv & Miljö records feel like the connecting narrative thread between Blod's nostalgic avant-traditionalism and the Gothenburg Sound Workshop's restrained impressionism, and with it a vital component in the current Swedish musical firmament. Edition of 500.
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