Ulver – ATGCLVLSSCAP
Released January 22nd, 2016 on House of Mythology
The Norwegian black metal band turned art-house experimental collective Ulver has gone even more out-there for their twelfth album. Bored of the usual way in which they made albums, they embarked on an experimental series of live concerts that they branded “free rock”, in which they got up on various stages throughout Europe and jammed on whatever motifs came into their heads that night. These live recordings were then culled and cut into shape by the band, further enhanced with noise and, on “Moody Stix”, samples of their older work. The outcome is the ultimate ambient jam, not so much a collection of songs as a roadmap of their trip through Europe and the noise that came into their heads on any given night. There is a freeing quality to the recordings that is remarkably free of the sort of formality one comes to expect from studio jams; the off-the-cuff nature makes for a series of aural hallucinations that move in and out of grooves as the group chooses. “Cromagnosis” and “Om Hanumate Namah” are the best examples of the trance-like groove state the band would find themselves in, although the lysergic ambiance of “England’s Hidden” and “The Spirits That Lend Strength Are Invisible” evoke the same feeling without locking themselves into an outright beat.
Forget Explosions In The Sky: ATGCLVLSSCAP is post-rock, in that it clears the space of anchors like structure and studio formality and sets the stage for something potentially new and exciting.
(And if you’re wondering, the title is an acronym referencing the twelve signs of the zodiac).