Tuesday, 6 March 2012
It seems that once in a while a new sound comes from Sweden that makes me prick up my ears, listen and get excited about "music". It can probably be traced back to first hearing The Leather Nun and their "Slow Death" 7" on Industrial Records in 1979, and then White Stains and their releases on TOPYScandanavia. Phauss (and the solo works of C.M. Von Hausmouse), Kent Tankred, Leif Elggren follow on, then to work by composers such as Ingrid Engaras, Henrik Rylander and Carl Abrahamsson. Sweden has produced some great artists over the past thirty five years.
This century I have been listening to Karmanjakan Intonarumori, Survival Unit, The Members Of Tinnitus, Treriksroset, Alfarmania, Proiect Hat, Bestializer and Pestdemon (amongst others)...and now Trepaneringsritualen.
I have mentioned before, it is the name that attracted me - an excellent name that does exactly what it says on the tin! Trepaneringsritualen are dark, menacing, occult and visceral to the senses. Recently the head Trepanner (Thomas Ekelund) has released two limited cassettes on his new label Belaten. "Roi Perdu" (The Lost King) was originally released 2 years ago by Swedish label Ideal Recordings. Then the edition was 23 copies - the reissue is 50 copies.
Side A begins with "De La Mer"; a slow drumming mantra surrounded by insects, leading in to "Le Seul Vrai Roi" a dark piece with a menacing growling underbelly. Side B and "Champ Sacre" plays like a funeral dirge for a dying beast. Again, there is this growling (tre)panning from ear to ear. I don't know whether or not it is a vocal effect technique or a sample but Thomas has got Mahomed's growl off to a tee! The cassette ends on "Decoupage De L'Orme". A barren wasteland where the wind carries the screams of the dying and battle fallen. Cracking stuff and all on a C20 cassette.
The third Belaten release is another C20 cassette limited to 50 copies. "Edifice Of Nine Suavastikas". This release is a split between AEther and Trepaneringsritualen. I have no idea who Aether is/are...but I imagine them/he/her to be Swedish (and probably called Thomas). AEther's edifice is a bass rumble drifting across a frozen tundra. calming and not too far from the work of UK outfit Marzuraan. Trepaneringsritualen's edifice begins with a series of explosions. Chaos is brought upon us with the shaking of cages, a beast awakes. Dark sinister powerful noise. By the end of the tape I am reminded of Finnish group Temple Of Tiermes, they too explored auditory hallucinogenics...excellent stuff - and I would say recommended but I do know that both tapes have sold out at source and have now become collectors items! Thomas has mentioned a re-release already...maybe as (I hope not, but maybe) a digital download. Also this week came the Trepaneringsritualen 10"EP "Deathward, To The Womb" on the Swedish label Release The Bats, but I've only played this record the once...so I'm not going to say much about it here other than (on first listen) it sounds like a classic!
Thomas Ekelund's project before Trepaneringsritualen was the atrociously named Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words. To me it sounds like the title of an Agatha Christie short story, or one of those "airport novel" thrillers, not a name to go out and discover. But with Trepaneringsritualen sounding so bloody damn good I decided to dip my ear in to the sound of....
On the recommendation of my Swedish friend Morten I bought the CD album "Lost In Reflections", released by the US label Killer Pimp. Awful band name, awful label name, what was there to lose? I had seen this album on the Unrest Productions distro list a couple of years back, but the name just put me off.
"Lost In Reflections" is one of the most surprising sounds I have heard for a long time. To quote Crispy Ambulance "Not What I Expected".
I read a little piece of blurb about the album and it seems to be Thomas's response to being diagnosed with a personality disorder. The album is made of six tracks. Five sketches and one 20 minute masterpiece. The sketches are built around prepared and played guitar, bells, chimes and synthesizers. Although the sound is isolatory and moribund - incredibly inward - it is also incredibly pleasurable. Being of an age I was reminded of work by Nurse With Wound, Soviet France, Nocturnal Emissions and Durutti Column.
The final track "Himmelschreibenden Herzen" (A heart written in the sky) is a piece of programme music...a neo-classical masterpiece. Stirring stuff.
I fear that I have chanced upon this project too late as (like Trepaneringsritualen) releases are ultra limited and now long gone. I picked up this CD from Amazon for a tenner...it was their last copy. I am in Sweden next month.....I'm going to be hunting out the record shops!!!
1: "Deathward, To The Womb" 10"
2: Belaten tapes.
3: Dead Letters Spell Dead Words CD Cover.
4: Thomas Ekelund in performance.