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Ulver - Scary Muzak review




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Reviewer:
7.7

25 users:
7.96
Band: Ulver
Album: Scary Muzak
Release date: October 2021


01. Aleen Howl
02. Ateliers Hume
03. Genet Nightingale
04. Addi Feld Hon
05. Alchemist Salk
06. Boo Sackcloth
07. Evil Longbows
08. Club Fuego
09. Achilles Milk
10. ECM Panorama
11. Redrum Al Brut
12. RIP Brouhaha


If you’re like me, you’ve recently exited the newest Halloween film feeling somewhat disappointed. Not totally cheated, just frowning slightly. Fortunately, there’s an orange lining hiding behind that storm cloud… because this Halloween kills.

After that underwhelming presentation at the theater, and having to answer repeated questions about my plans for the upcoming holiday, I took the easy way out of my malaise and pulled the classic move of watching Halloween on Halloween (the 1978 original, of course). It’s a fantastic slice of celluloid essential to horror history, and its creeping terror rests in no small part on its revolutionary and memorable score. The score, a series of menacing, spine-tingling synth pieces composed and performed by director John Carpenter, has since become one of the best-known collections of music associated with the horror genre (particularly the iconic main theme); the chilling cues and haunting drones mesh perfectly with the elegantly evil images and go a long way in driving every scare deep into the bones. Carpenter’s original version of the score is well worth experiencing as an album all its own, and he has others besides that you should check out if you like dark electronic music – he might, in fact, be the most successful director-turned-musical artist out there (although obviously David Lynch’s stuff is good, and when we finally get a full-fledged album out of Naoko Yamada, there will be no further competition).

That legendary Halloween score finds itself reimagined here, adulterated into something spacier and even more unorthodox by the mercurial erstwhile metallists Ulver. I’m much more of a Carpenter fan than I am an Ulver fan, but I have enjoyed their last few forays into psychedelic synthpop, and this project is an exciting mesh of moods. Some of the darkness of the original compositions is preserved in tracks like “Club Fuego,” “RIP Brouhaha,” “Aleen Howl,” and “Atelier’s Hume”; though this Halloween has now passed us by, we’re still locked in the moribund march of autumn, and the bracing cold of urgent orchestration is a perfect soundtrack to falling leaves and whispering winds. No longer functioning as mere backdrop to a visual story, the tracks have been built up, layered, and rearranged with new shades of soft mystique and scintillating dynamics; Ulver frequently abstract the original tone into a hazy drone or herd it into a hauntingly romantic shuffle. Some tracks, like “Addi Fled Hon,” even escape the outright morbidity of Halloween and alight on something trippier and fuzzier, more suited to something like The Color Out Of Space or Mandy. I’m not familiar enough with Ulver to render much insight into this little experiment’s place in their discography, but it feels like something halfway between their recent studio albums and a novel side project born of amusement – not to downplay its musical worth, but rather to suggest that it feels kind of “fun” in a way I don’t usually associate with Ulver. Just look at that cover.

“Scary Muzak” is an appropriate descriptor for these creepy mood pieces. I hope that the producers of this new Halloween trilogy are paying attention, because if Halloween Kills was any indication, they’re going to need something pretty snappy to make Halloween Ends worth my time – and I’ve got just the album in mind for it.





Written on 14.11.2021 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 139 users
14.11.2021 - 15:39
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
What's whit an album genre, skary muzak
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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14.11.2021 - 16:03
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Bad English on 14.11.2021 at 15:39

What's whit an album genre, skary muzak

That's what this album is. It's in the title.
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


2021 goodies
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14.11.2021 - 17:40
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by RaduP on 14.11.2021 at 16:03

Written by Bad English on 14.11.2021 at 15:39

What's whit an album genre, skary muzak

That's what this album is. It's in the title.

Release date: 31 October 2021
Style: Scary muzak
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
14.11.2021 - 17:48
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Bad English on 14.11.2021 at 17:40

Release date: 31 October 2021
Style: Scary muzak

Precisely.
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


2021 goodies
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14.11.2021 - 23:08
Marcus
Doit Like Bernie
About one of your last points, as a long-time Ulver fan I'd say this is a bit more of a fun oddity, more like their more out there EPs from years past. I think this actually spawned from their performance of a Halloween re-score sometime last year, which would have been quite interesting to experience.
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