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Hardangervidda is one of Ildjarn’s most underrated albums. This magnificent ambient CD shows a great contrast when compared to the band’s previous works. Since Landscapes is the only other ambient album by the band, I will use it for comparison. So unlike the Landscapes double CDs, Hardangervidda is a lot less minimalist. The sound is very clean and quite unique. I have not heard any other similar ambient albums which explain the high rank I gave.
Another major difference between this CD and albums such as Landscapes, Handangervidda was far from improvised. Vidar and Nidhogg took 3 years to do it and although it was only released in 2002, it was finished in 1997.
Although some people are still unsure if the drums are real or not on the metal albums (they are real drums), the percussion on Hardangervidda clearly is programmed. I usually highly prefer real drums to synthetic ones but on this album they fit very well.
If anyone still questions Ildjarn’s abilities to write more complex and clean music, no album should convince them of the opposite better than this one.
I consider Hardangervidda as Ildjarn’s best album and as one of my all time favorite music albums in general, all music genres included. Go buy it now, it’s well worth it even for those who don’t like other Ildjarn albums.
The first time I heard this, I thought parts of it were pretty, but it didn't really catch my attention, for a couple of reasons. First, except somewhat for the first and last tracks, it doesn't sound "dark" at all. Burzum, Beherit, and Graveland (Lord Wind) all managed to keep roughly the same atmosphere with their ambient / electronic albums that they had had with their metal albums, albeit with much different techniques, much to the credit of those bands. Ildjarn though, went completely the opposite direction and chose an incredibly soothing, unobtrusive aesthetic as compared to his uncompromisingly caustic and in your face sound on his metal albums. What takes some time to realize though is that this music is not entirely different. Structurally and melodically, it is a very much more fleshed out and thought out version of this artist's heavier material, played with very differnt techniques, amplifying the change in aesthetic inherent in the new medium.
I guess you could call this something of a concept album, as the music forms a narrative, depicting a day spent ambling through the Hardanger Highlands of Norway. I guess that whole dawn to dusk thing is the oldest idea in the book for concept albums, but Ildjarn and Nidhogg make it work very very convincingly.
After repeated attentive listens, one starts to realize just how brilliant this music really is. Unconventional melodies melt into and out of each other, an understanding of neoclassical polyphony unheard of within the black metal scene, is shown throughout, and most importantly, like all Ildjarn full lengths, the whole of the album is greater than the sum of the songs, and the whole thing just makes sense There's that whole idea of communicating again...
Since this art is so subtle, I recommend listening to it somewhere out in nature, preferably on a hike or something, so that the only distractions you will have will be the subject matter of this album in the first place...
I recommend this album to ANYONE who likes good music. It has absolutely no aesthetic connection with black or metal music whatsoever