BREIDABLIK: Penumbra (2017)
“Penumbra is a good little find that will please undoubtedly the aficionados of the retro Berlin School style”
1 Penumbra pt. I 19:29 2 Penumbra pt. II 11:07 3 Nehalennia 4:34 4 The Chariots of the Sun 5:14 Breidablik Music
(DDL 40:24) (V.F.) (Berlin School)
No, our ears are not dreaming! A layer of drones where glisten organic noises, introduces a line of foggy Mellotron with a fluty tint which floats with nobility until the first waddling of a line of sequences. As if by magic, fragrances of Ricochet and Phaedra jump in our ears while Penumbra pt. I is drifting with its buzzing layers to get lost in this movement of ambient rhythm on where are grafted here and there church bells. A line of melody binds itself to this rhythm, evaporating even its traces to reign solo with anesthetic lines. Layers of voice spread a savor of mysticism, whereas the sequencer, taken out of its hiding place, traces a superb zigzagging movement. Its figures of crisscrossed 8 are getting melt in a sound decor rich of its layers of voices and of its antipyretic mists, whereas the implosions of bass lines add a dramatic ingredient to this introduction in the universe of Breidablik. Another short phase of rhythm arises of this fascinating symbiosis between synth layers among which the macabre tones and the absent voices weave the heart and the soul of this PENUMBRA. Navigating between phases of ephemeral rhythms and soundscapes of Mephistophelian ambiences, the slow gestation of Penumbra pt. I also fills itself of layers of vampiric drones which hum with astral synth lines and cosmic elements. The migrations of the bass layers and of the radiations of the azure winds add to the well-crafted twilights of this long evolutionary title which is Penumbra pt. I until a real phase of rhythm breathes by the means of lively sequences which skip with velocity in this decor which gives all the nobility to the use of the analog synthesizers. The sequences which go out of the mouth of the winds, around the 12th minute, sculpt a slightly spheroidal motionless structure and of which the ascending movement sparkles between some lines of synth loaded of those philharmonic flavors of Tangerine Dream and layers of iridescent voices. A line of bass pulsations invites itself in this vertical dance, giving a livelier dimension to this short rhythmic passage which lasts hardly 4 minutes. A note, a single note survives to this merciless wall of atmospheres, among which a very acuteness layer which aims to be master on board. A dreamy note which roams and finds an astral road at the very end of Penumbra pt. I.
Breidablik is my very last discovery in this immense cosmic ocean which is contemporary EM. Doing old in a spirit of modernity, such is Morten Birkeland Nielsen's prerogative. Using mainly analog synthesizers, this Norwegian musician builds soundscapes as epic as in the 70's. The music is dark with a strong chthonian accent which wraps the rhythms, the harmonies and the jets of ambiences from a sound flora as intriguing as fascinating. PENUMBRA is his first album and follows a series of 3 E.P. which testifies of a diversity without borders in the world of the darkness which is apparently inspired by Tangerine Dream albums, from Phaedra to Cyclone. Penumbra pt. II starts in a sound magma in full ebullition. Hits of bass drums and sound pearls falling from their necklace decorate a macabre decor in which breathes a luminous flute. Sonic waves, swirling as the light signals of a lighthouse, add a pallet of tones which undulate of its threatening reverberations. Besides this nice flute line which is dragging here and there, we find cosmic elements which were borrowed from the kingdom of Ashra, period 77-78. The structure of rhythm which emerges is activated by a bass pulsation. Its oscillating dance awakes some good memories while the sound elements vary between layers of voice, rushes of dark winds and electronic chirpings which remind to us that we don't listen to Tangerine Dream. Shorter and very catchy, Penumbra pt. II ends its race like in the first part where a movement of sequences is resuscitating to be taken away by an astral divinity. Two short titles complete this album of forty-something minutes, giving an overview of both faces of Breidablik. Very cinematographic, kind of dread and of dramatic intensity, Nehalennia blows our ears with an intense synth line in the flavors of old organ which amasses diverse scattered tones to forge one dense tonal magma which withers in winds and void where survives a bizarre frog isolated. On the other hand, The Wagons of the Sun is all in rhythm with a movement of the sequencer in mode Popcorn, the hit of the 70's, but in lento. The beat is pleasant with a shower of lines which drag at horizontal in a structure created for the ambient but really effective rhythm.
PENUMBRA is a good little find that will please undoubtedly the aficionados of the retro Berlin School style where the gloomy ambiences were the dens of structures in continual movements. Very good and available only in download format on the Bandcamp site of Breidablik where other beautiful finds wait for you.
Sylvain Lupari (February 10th, 2018) ****¼*
Available at Breidablik's Bandcamp