10 October, 2013

Full Album Stream: Ulver: Messe I.X – VI.X – new album


I’m not completely sure what is going on here, but apparently it comes down to this: ULVER (Norwegian for “wolves” and Ulverish for “sounding like sorrow” – which does make sense, if you think about it) have been commissioned by Tromsø Kulturhus to compose a piece with the Norwegian Arctic Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra. The result, ‘Messe I.X-VI.X’, first performed with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra in September 2012, is now available internationally as ULVER's tenth album, through Jester Records. Described as “eerie and disturbingly alive, as though haunted by the organic sounds of the body: the rhythm of breath, the throb of the circulatory system, all liquid, pulse and need” as well as “cold, alien record, exploring the sounds of distance and loneliness, inexplicable gulfs and the awful unspoken” by Natalie Zina Walschots (Exclaim! – more here), this lovely piece of work is available for your listening pleasure below and awaits your order here (ULVER webshop), on iTunes, on Amazon MP3 and here (BandCamp):

Doing their own thing since 1993 out of Oslo, Norway, ULVER nevertheless started out as black metal band - although folklore-influenced black metal band. Led by vocalist Garm (apparently also known as “Trickster G”, “God Head” and Kristoffer Rygg), ULVER's first three albums are religiously referred to as “Black Metal Trilogie”; the excellent debut ‘Bergtatt – Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler’ (or “Taken Into The Mountain - A Fairy Tale In 5 Chapters”), issued in 1995, the “bold and successful effort” ‘Kveldssanger’, released in 1996, and their 1997's ‘Nattens Madrigal – Aatte Hymne Til ulven I Manden’ (or “Madrigal Of The Night – Eight Hymns To The Wolf In Man”, which was wildly rumored to be recorded outdoors in a Norwegian forest on an 8-track recorder (not true). Doing a complete 180, ULVER next put forth a double album called ‘Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell’ in 1998, thus officially becoming “a strange mix of metal, electronic, folk, and utter strangeness” kind-of-a-band (Jason Hundey, AllMusic – more here – who recommended the album to “those seeking a musical purging, all others beware”):

Down to Kristoffer Rygg and Tore Ylwizaker, ULVER underwent metamorphosis in 1999 and recorded an EP about it (listen to ‘Metamorphosis’ here on BandCamp), followed by the band's fifth album ‘Perdition City: Music To An Interior Film’, issued in 2000, which “continued in the more modern, electronic-oriented direction of their previous two releases” (William York, AllMusic –more here):

Perpetually creative, ULVER next delivered ‘Silencing The Singing’ EP in 2001 (listen here/BandCamp), followed by ‘Lyckantropen Themes’ in 2002, an original soundtrack ULVER had composed for the Swedish short film “Lyckantropen” (listen here/BandCamp) and another original soundtrack ‘Svidd Neger’, they recorded in 2003. Their sixth album, 2005's ‘Blood Inside’ was described as “eclectic, remarkably inspiring, and never less than a brave step into the depths of the unknown” by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here):

Prior to co-writing ULVER's next album, 2007's ‘Shadows Of The Sun’, programmer Tore Ylwizaker reportedly spent a year studying classical composers and composition techniques. The end result was depicted as “an enjoyable, at times hypnotic album” by William York, AllMusic (more here):

‘Wars Of The Roses’ followed in 2011. The album had entered the Norwegian Album Charts at number 17, based on first day sales alone; it had also entered the Finnish Album Charts at number 30:
For their ninth studio album, ULVER compiled sixteen songs from those who experimented before them, mostly in the '60s, such as tunes from THE BYRDS, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, LES FLEUR DE LYS and Curt Boettcher, and made them their own. The collection of cover songs was called ‘Childhood's End’ and was released in 2012, followed by live recording ‘Live At Roadburn’, which was issued in April 2013 (listen here/BandCamp):

ULVER features: Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg – vocals and programming, Jørn H. Sværen – various, Tore Ylwizaker – programming and keyboards and Daniel O’Sullivan – guitar, bass and keyboards

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