BREIDABLIK: Nhoohr (2019)
“A splendid album with a perfect balance between its inspirations, generations and ambiences, this Nhoohr offers a Berlin School vision that has find new sources of origin”
1 Arrival 2:47 2 At the Windswept Planes of Nhoohr 14:16 3 Clouddancing 10:13 4 The old Forest 6:23 5 Strange Lands 11:27 6 Perihelion 5:19 Breidablik Music
(DDL 50:28) (V.F.) (Berlin School)
The expectations were rather high in order to survive an album as big as Penumbra! Except that Morten Birkeland Nielsen does not care and makes another musical gem which has brought me yet to the territories of Phaedra and Stratosfear, but in a tone so dark that reminded me of the best moments of Jim Kirkwood, this brilliant English artist too little known. In fact, NHOOHR surpasses Breidablik's Penumbra with a better-defined sound signature where the darker aspect of his music is less fogged in a heavy and stuffy envelope. In addition, the friend Morten adds instruments to his bow, I'm thinking especially guitars, thus restoring a highly precise musical texture. Mellotrons? They are always present and blow veils of flutes and ethereal voices which gave this ghostly cachet to the analog EM of the early 70's. Breidablik also adds an organic fauna to his funereal decor, leading me in his very last wonderful musical adventure where I did not have to force my imagination to travel inside the 6 sonic chapters of this imposing album where the vintage Berlin School finds new sources of its origin.
NHOOHR is an imaginary land where plants and animals live and flourish freely, without the tracking and destruction of humans. So, an intuition of virgin and abundant lands colors our ears with the vision of Breidablik. The opening is usual with a sound wave which rises while drawing its reverberant radiations. There is a bit of musicality in Arrival and a lot of intensity with a rise of layers, some of prism and others darker, which breathe life to these ambiences and whose attenuation turns into nebulous breezes which leads us to the edge of an intriguing forest and its crows croaking. Each title is independent, At the Windswept Planes of Nhoohr opens a little in the same way, except that the synth throws harmonious breaths slowly undulating over a steaming ember. A movement of the sequencer frees a line which ripples vividly, structuring a fluid and lively rhythm strongly marked by the influences of Phaedra. For the next 6 minutes, the rhythmic flow will intoxicate your senses! Apart from the rippling effects which flow there, some sibylline veils, scarlet streaks, humming in two shades are flying over and wrap up warmly this dizzying escalation, bursting with subtle variations in its oscillations a little before the barrier of the seventh minute. The fury then becomes ambience with layers of granular dust which push its clouds around a river and of its dancing circles, guiding the 2nd phase of At the Windswept Planes of Nhoohr towards a celestial moment with orchestral layers and a seraphic choir. A core of reverberations is there. It casts its rays into a gloomy décor and its sinister organ layers. The water continues to make dance its lapping, hunting the dark elements in order to make glimmering for a few seconds a waddling movement probably lost by a sequencer became so limpid in this final.
It's in a spirit of fantasy that opens Clouddancing. The sequencer traces a muffled waddling through the breaths of a hybrid Mellotron, blowing its precious air with a bucolic vision. A guitar infiltrates these ambiences with harmonious solos which sing in a world made of bells. Taking the shape of the last breath from the electric six-string, the synth injects acute lamentations which are totally like a razor wire between our ears. The universe gets iridescent with thin lines of voices haloed of an abstruse balm which push the music into a black area. Thunders are thundering and the winds stop shaping these fascinating windy intrigues, bringing Clouddancing to a 2nd phase animated by a fluid upward movement from the sequencer. Its electronic rhythm rolls and zigzags beneath a blackened sky of winds, voices and clatters from a parallel universe which has all the elements of the chthonian sects. The old Forest is a splendid title that has all the mysticism of its meaning. What is a forest without chirping birds and breezes which tickle its dense foliage? An acoustic guitar does conversation with nature which responds to it with the lapping and shimmering of its brooks. A dark shadow casts an occult veil which gets amplified by the cries of crows and a gentle avalanche of strata from a Mellotron and its so mysterious chants. A brief ominous passage before that the beauties of The Old Forest resume their rights. The color of the tones of Strange Lands, at least its introduction, brings us back to the chthonic ambiances which are the many soundscapes of the retro Berlin School. Layers of voices and some fog are floating here, while discreetly the synth scatters strange tunes in a massive magma of sounds always in motion. The chant of synths seems to herald better days, whereas all the ambiences seem to thicken and dominate the first moments of a dark music that a swamp seems to contain. The fauna of this marsh sparkles in our ears with good samplings, moving the mysterious reach of these ambiences to an underground entrance where dance goblins, black elves and orcas of all kinds and that a movement from a sequencer tries to flee with a fluid but smothered race. A delicious vintage Berlin School! Perihelion ends NHOOHR in a completely different register. The rhythm is very lively without dark veil but a good clear envelope which brings the music to a catchy electronic rock that could easily serve as an encore. In fact, it's exactly its way to sound on this album which is a superb album of EM as we liked to discover them at the time. The edition of 250 copies vinyl is already sold out and the album will be released only by download in mid-February. Pity! Really a pity that the music is at this point!
Sylvain Lupari (January 14th, 2019) ****½*
Available at Breidablik's Bandcamp