Creative Space (CS017)
Mastered by Murcof
When I bring to mind the music of Iceland, I can’t help but think of epic pop or twee music-box styled experiments. It’s a pleasant surprise then, that Gisli Thor Gudmundsson, aka Traject, draws inspiration not from the current crop of Icelandic superstars, but seemingly from the subarctic landscape itself.
Penrose opens the album, with deep breathy drones creaking and groaning under the weight of meticulously programmed deconstructed rhythms. There’s something sinister lurking in the tundra, and Gudmundsson has captured it’s essence here. Bjart Er Yfir follows with more of the drones and atmospherics that tie the album together. This time though, they’re accompanied by deep tribal drumming and looped distant vocal samples. On Umkringdur / Umsátur the icy electronic beats return, floating between resonant harmonics, and the ever present gloomy atmospheric drones. The metallic Hvergi drops any rhythmic element altogether, and leaves us with deconstructed plucked strings, choirs in the wasteland, and the sound of sheet metal crashing against the ice. Mistur continues the choral, cinematic theme, while Samkoman ties together elements of previous tracks with the beats united with treated piano, fractured strings, metallic clashes and sinister bass. 0718 picks up the pace, opening with Autechre-esque electronics, until percussive elements take hold and drive the track with a sense of urgency to it’s conclusion. The short Doom and Siesta Time is the closest we get to Icelandic pop, where the drones and beats leave us for a quiet interlude of melancholic harmonium and bells. Of the five remaining tracks, Metropolis, The Horns are Gone, and Campfire Scene deliver more of the sinister atmospherics and fractured beats. Stálómur srips back the palette, with minimal beats and wooden perscussion, but still accompanied by that sense of dread pervading the landscape. Eg Sofna closes the album, as softly as it can, atmospheric strings and voices leading us out of the icy wilderness.
A stunning collection of glacial IDM from Traject.
Excellent electronics from the Greek Creative Space imprint, basically picking up where Spezial Material left off with a new album from Icelandic producer Traject. We've heard very little from Traject for a few years, and his fans will be very pleased to know that his style of maudlin post-techno electronics is still as dark and intricate as ever. 'Penrose' initiates the session with a tense composition of cinematic atmospheres and contorting rhythm mechanics, both fluid and concrete. 'Bjart er yfir' follows with more doomy atmospherics of the widescreen and epic kind, weaving in whispered utterances and slow tribal drumming for the full effect. 'Samkoman' toys with minimal techno rhythms in a spatially screwed style similar to Vladislav Delay, while 'The Horns Are Gone' sets out to sea on pitching electro rhythms and ominous strings. There's a sense of narrative that ties the album togther as a complete package and the production levels are certainly intricate and complex enough to undergo intense scrutiny from the home listening crew. Fans of Robert Logan, Oberman Knocks or the old Spezial Material/Skam sound will love this.
#80 of top 100 albums of 2009 (scannerfm.com
I am not a massive fan of a lot of glitchy noise music. There is so much drone and glitch music that reminds me of a 6-year-old falling asleep while holding down a note on a keyboard, but then there are the artists who can expertly craft a world of tones and beats that dance along rhythm that can entrance your mind in a way that a basic four-on-the-floor could never do.
Traject’s album “Birting” is an album that blends discordant beats with a symphony of hypnotic tones. It is glitchy in an Open-Field-Sunrise-With-Boards-Of-Canada sort of way. The album sounds like a haunted house, creeping and echoing all around you as you try to navigate your way to door. Acoustic instruments echoing from distant rooms of the house being played by -or possessed by- ghosts. Not mean ghosts. Confused and scared ghosts. The ghosts don’t know what is going on or where they are at, so they start blending sounds to create a state of trance in an effort to conjure up the spirits who might have the answers that they are searching for.
Having this album back in my life is like finding the missing page that was previously torn out of my book of hymns.
While the discordant tones and industrial soundscapes that get woven into the fabric of these enchantments might be too much for some to handle, I know it will be perfect for many. Once you hear it and begin digesting it, you may discover that this album has been missing from your own ghost-filled world as well.
This is an incredible record that starts out with dark bass tones that wouldn’t have been out of place on burial’s debut before moving into the kind of murky soundscapes that murcof creates & exploring the more beaty & glitchy idm end of things, recalling the likes of autechre, gescom & aphex twin but somewhat starker.
With 14 tracks of ice cold electronics, ritualistic ambient techno & obscure rhythmical experiments, ‘birting’ is seriously some of the most epically impressive left-field electronica we’ve heard for ages. Highly recommended.
"Birting" has a lot to offer and will possibly please a wider audience moving from ambient to experimental freaks.