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This is probably the best electronic based album I've heard. No cheesy steady beats and barely-changing extremely repetitive tones present in so much techno/trance stuff today. But if you're reading this chances are you aren't one who's into that. While this certainly isn't Ulver's most experimental, (That goes to "Themes from William Blake's...") it remains their most solid work to date. This is much different from "Themes" Very melodic and calm songs, but not too calm to be labeled ambient like some of their other releases. Even though some parts are ambient. There is a lot of electonic rhythms but they are never repetitive.
The CD kicks off with "Lost in Moments" a nice beat which suddenly turns into a soft piano and saxophone harmony and keeps switching and mixing back and forth. When you hear the word Saxophone you might think it is incredibly cheesy, but Ulver know how to make it anything except that. This song also has some vocals, most of them near the end. They aren't very common, probably half the songs have vocals.
Most songs have piano, a lot of electronic beats and a significant amount of real drumming, and a lot of melodic and not-so-melodic electronic sounds that drift in and out and in between the songs. Sometimes real guitars are used too. Some parts are just so groovy you cant help but tap your fingers... especially the last minute or so of "Porn Piece or the Scars of Cold Kisses." Songs change a lot and keep flowing brilliantly and most songs have an awesome climax somewhere.
Some songs are a bit different. "We are the Dead" is a very eerie and slow with Garm whispering into your ear overlapping the subtle distorted radio frequencies. Following that is "Dead City Centres," the first part is the most ambiant on the CD with high frequency beeps and distant sounds. The second half is a freaky narration of some sort with crazy saxophones... kind of hard to explain, then fades out into a beautiful uplifting piano melody for a few seconds. The last song, "Nowhere/Catastrophe" is where the most vocals are found.
While listening to this I always picture walking around in a big city with lots of neon lights at night. I should actually try to do that sometime, but I'd probably look like a moron and start taking steps in synch with the rhythm. I think of going into subways, glass buildings, all sorts of things. The photos inside kind of help that imagery along.
This album probably makes the best introduction to Ulver's electronic works. It is experimental in its own way but not compared to a lot of their other stuff, and shouldnt be that hard if you have an open mind...
For my conclusion I will quote the back of the cd case. "This is music for the stations before and after sleep. Headphones and darkness recommended." This is very true, if you listen to it with these two conditions it is more worthwhile.