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Adrift in minimalist monotony - 50%

Pestbesmittad, March 9th, 2008

So, here we have another entirely ambient release by Vinterriket. Six very long sweeping tracks that all are very simple and repetitive, much more so than the debut album. Music like this is often quite hard for me to enjoy, as I’m someone who prefers more variation. Every track here is based around the same formula: drifting keyboard chords and notes that switch very slowly. Sometimes there are background effects like wind or something that sounds like "snow explosions" (I call them "avalanche sounds"). You can hear these "explosion" effects on tracks "I" and "IV". A positive point on this album are the keyboard sounds: I feel like I’m sitting on the edge of a cloud that makes its journey over a frozen landscape. In smaller doses I find this kind of music OK to listen to but this album is over an hour long. However, this of course means value for money if simple ambient music is your thing.

The title of the album means landscapes of eternal loneliness and I suppose each track is meant to portray a different landscape of this emotion. However, the tracks don't differ much from each other. "III" is the most varied of the bunch. It has quite a lot of variation when it comes to the structure and quite a few different synth sounds are used. There's even some percussion during certain parts of this track, which helps it move forward. Also "VI" has some percussion but it's mixed really low. But for the most part of this album the music just sort of is there. Although I can’t say I hate it or think that it’s horrible, the minimalism starts to get to me after a while. Is loneliness really this one-dimensional? Does it always feel the same? Instead of portraying different landscapes of loneliness, I feel that the music portrays the same landscape over and over again.

If you think you’d like to listen to ambient music that makes you feel like you’re gliding over mountaintops, wandering in snowy forests and beholding distant avalanches this could be a good purchase. Listening to this also makes me think of various space images such as supernovas, nebulas, galaxies etc. This stuff is good for meditating or relaxing to but for me the minimalism remains the biggest problem. I don’t mind if I have this album on as background music when e.g. reading a book (as the music isn’t disturbing in any way) but if I actually want to focus on the music I’m listening to, I’ll put on something else. Having said that, the atmosphere on this album is very coherent, there are no elements that disturb or kill the mood. I think you should indeed be alone when listening to “Landschaften Ewiger Einsamkeit”. Putting this one on in broad daylight when sitting around chatting with friends will not get you into the proper mood.