Sunday, November 14, 2010

K100 – The vault of apparitions – Dark experimental

Reviewed by Batcheeba.

K100 is the solo project of Kim Sølve (Trine + Kim Design studio, Swarms, M, Delirium Bound) and this is his second release.

It's no secret that I am sceptical to anything Norwegian, and even more so when it comes to Norwegian "experimentalism". My experience is that more often than not Norwegian musicians in this area have a fetish for authenticity and it is rarely matched by substance. Or they simply fail completely.

So, what will my reactions to Kim Sølve's dark experimental release be?
Let me tell you, this is a much needed refreshment in the massive pile consisting of drone and dark Ambient, and I am glad to say that Sølve neither tries too hard or wants to be something he's not. Sølve masters the art of expression through sound, and he masters it well. The sound itself is the center of attention and it's obvious to me that Sølve has spent quite some time processing these tracks in his head before they came to life. According to the cover the tracks were made between 2002-2008. Just goes to show that good quality is worth waiting for, and indeed worth the while.

The CD contains 12 tracks. To my personal tastes that might be too much for any release - depending on track length of course. This is especially true for drone or dark ambient. Keep it clean cut, and keep it short is my philosophy. I would perhaps have preferred it if Sølve split this release into two, to keep the listeners interested. However the release manages to keep me interested all the way through, so he's certainly doing something right. Maybe it works because the tracks vary in lenght so much. The amazing thing with Sølve is that once you feel like you've figured him out, like you know what to expect, he feeds you little surprises in the shape of really interesting sound facets that are so subtle they make you want to dissolve into atoms and merge with the computer to have a closer listen. The production is really interesting as well. Yes, it's a little over produced, but it still gives the layers justice and attention. The music is based on electronic sounds with samples providing interesting depth in the background. So, well done. No wonder this is released on Neuropa Records.

“The vault of apparitions” guides you deep down, creating a tactile, meditative space. Sølve grants the listener time to explore the tracks, and that is a much missed quality in most releases. People tend to want to force too many elements into a short period of time, presumably because they desperately want to keep the listeners attention. In my experience this often results in the complete opposite, mind you. Sølve however, is not desperate. He takes his time building, not only each track, but the entire release into a mix of experimental and ambient . Slowly pulling you deep down with him into this calm trance like state. The mood is unmistakeably dark: In the press release he mentions "personal experiences bordering on rituals" and I see that as a perfect setting. Not rituals as in the occult, but as in a psychological ritual. This is not a challenging listen considering it's experimental, it is however very soothing and calming. While firmly based in drones the music also contains a variety of rythmic elements, and small details adding dynamism to the album.

The cover is really stunning, with metal textures and a clever, minimalist design with a key hole on the front cover, and the key on the inside. It's a fitting metaphor for what I suspect is Sølve's intention with this release. Again, a well planned and executed idea. Clean cut, no bullshit, just the way we like it.

Finally and most of all I want to applaud Kim Sølve for those subtle sound experiments, for his obvious faith in the idea, and for the laid back and self assured execution. I give my stamp of approval. This is indeed excellent work.

Artist: K100
Year: 2010
Format: CD digipack
Country: Norway

Track list:
1: False awakening
2: Fevered and childlike
3: No light
4: Daybreak
5: Winters in the making
6: They tell me about their darkness
7: Insect sculptures
8: Contrours
9: Silent and in-between
10: Assembled from shadows
11: the room if reoccuring nightmares
12: Flies in his smile