Published on Tuesday, 07 March 2017 19:18
Album Title: Bånsull
Release date: 10 February 2017
02. Hvor Her Er Ødselig
03. Full Av Tomhet
08. Elevte Time
Elegi is no stranger to the dark ambient scene. Since the debut, Sistereis in 2007 on Miasmah Records, Elegi has been one of the front runners in the dark ambient scene. Yet, much like Dahlia's Tear, Elegi, for whatever reason, continues to fall beneath the radar of the greater dark ambient community. Lauded among fellow musicians, yet generally lost over the years to listeners. So, it is with great pleasure that I am able to review this latest work, Bånsull. In the hope that, not only will fans discover the beauty of Bånsull, but they will also find a need to seek out the previous two albums, Sistereis from 2007 and Varde from 2009.
Elegi has an amazingly unique take on dark ambient, which could be part of why their music has been overlooked. Hard to pin down, it could really be considered more of an experimental album than most others in the genre. Elegi works in the fashion of more recent artists like Flowers For Bodysnatchers or Enmarta. Elegi incorporates a multitude of instruments and sound sculpting to produce a work which is at once bold and engaging, yet simultaneously subtle and relaxing. This surely attests to the scope of creativity and technical talents of the man behind Elegi, Tommy Jansen hailing from Oslo, Norway. It seems that there is never an end to the magnificent talents of dark ambient musicians in Scandinavia. Elegi absolutely deserves a spot among the more well known projects: Svartsinn, Northaunt, Kammarheit, Taphephobia, etc.
Bånsull is true to the form of Elegi. There hasn't been a lot of change, stylistically. Yet, that is a welcome statement to me, as the previous two albums were nothing short of masterpieces. Years have gone by, 8 years, since the 2009 release of Varde. It seemed all hope was lost for another album, and yet here it is!
Bånsull is its strongest when incorporating the various instrument which most prominently include viola and piano. These instruments are used experimentally. There are no piano ballads or classically oriented string sections. The sounds produced by Elegi clearly fall within a dark ambient framework. There is little structure, in the traditional music sense. The sounds of these instruments are used gently, sparsely, and are complemented by the usual suspects of drone and field recordings. There can even be the occasional haunting voice incorporated as is the case on "Elevte Time".
Then other tracks like "Fordum" take the sound into an equally interesting direction, with sounds crackling and popping as if the music is coming from an old record player. Coming into the mix is another voice, yet just as haunting as the previous. This one sings falsetto phrases over a plethora of field recordings and instrumentation. This brilliant blend of sounds then begins to take on a looping old song feel, which in some parts could be comparable to something by The Caretaker.
There is never a moment on Bånsull in which Elegi won't keep the listener fully entertained and engaged. Yet, the overall sound is so subtle that it can be used equally well as a background soundscape, for those times when deep thought or conversation would be interrupted by most music. I would absolutely recommend Elegi to any dark ambient fans who prefer something out of the ordinary. I would even recommend this to fans of neo-classical, for there are a lot of innovative and experimental uses of classical instrumentation here. It is an absolute pleasure to finally hear another album by this amazingly talented musician. I hope we will not have to wait another 8 years for the next one.
Written by: Michael Barnett