CD / CD-R » Andreas Brandal – Séance

Andreas Brandal – Séance

Andreas Brandal – “Séance” CD-R (Twice Removed, 2014)



Andreas Brandal :: Seance (Twice Removed)

Electronica by gaslight. Outside overcast, the damp raising shivers indoors. Seance is a Norwegian’s very English steampunk audio novel. Andreas Brandal has conjured eight creepy early-electricity tableaux, oscillating between mad Frankensteinian reanimation experiments in a dungeon laboratory and polite evenings in an over-furnished Victorian lounge spent with the local Spiritualist Society attempting to raise the dead by other means. At times pleasantly discomfiting, as befits a real dungeon or seance, at others sooty and hellish as a 19th-century mill. A heady contrast, just as the Victorians, witness to remarkable leaps in technology, nurtured a queer fascination with death and surrounded themselves with momento mori. And I swear somewhere deep in the background, you can hear the hound of the Baskervilles barking across the heath. – Stephen Fruitman

Beach Sloth:

Andreas Brandal – Séance

Andreas Brandal keeps things eerie with the aptly named ‘Séance’. Conjuring up images of long-dormant machines awakening the entire album does a good job of maintaining an overall off-kilter mood. Electronics on the album are incredibly deep managing to cover quite a bit of territory. Moments seem to last far longer than they actually do. To a large degree the album sounds akin to a funhouse, with sounds distorted, origins left unclear, and without any sense of resolution.

‘Gathering’ rustles itself to action. Initially almost normal the synthesizer strays further and further afield. Towards the end the track veers sharply into noisier territory. On ‘Progress’ this transforms into something a bit more rock-based. With drones hovering above the track has a distinct sci-fi feel. By the time the drones dissipate the song becomes distinctly less violent. ‘Communicating’ is infused with threat. Remaining one of the quieter pieces on the collection it flirts with outright aggression, saving the final burst. Things take a drunken turn on ‘Spirits’ where the sound is completely illogical, stumbling around confused. Due to this unpredictability it remains one of the highlights of the album.

Towards the end the songs become brittle. ‘Ectoplasm’ plays with extremely abrasive noise akin to breaking bone in the beginning. Gradually this dissolves to reveal a slight melodic streak towards the final moments of the piece, even a hint at rhythm. By ending it off with one of the more comforting pieces of the collection ‘Conclusion’ Andreas Brandal seems to transform all that preceded it, seemingly asking the listener to return to pick out the melodies hidden throughout the debris.

Only Good Music:


Dźwięki i duchy to zjawiska związane ze sobą od dawna. Już słynny wynalazca Thomas Edison snuł rozważania nad rejestratorem głosów osób zmarłych. W latach 60. XX w., duński artysta Friedrich Jürgenson nagrywając śpiew ptaków przypadkowo zarejestrował na taśmach pochodzące z niewiadomego źródła dźwięki. Był to przyczynek do badań zjawiska EVP. Znany jest również przypadek medium Rosemary Brown, której duchy 12 słynnych kompozytorów ( Liszt, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, Igor Strawinski) „pomagały” pisać i wykonywać kompozycje. Co ciekawe wszystkie posiadały charakter danego wirtuoza. Nasz dzisiejszy bohater, Andreas Brandal eksploruje kolejny aspekt relacji dźwięk – duchy: dźwiękowy zapis seansu spirytystycznego.

Album “Seance” jest czytelny programowo. Kolejne utwory, utrzymane w koncepcji ścieżki dźwiękowej uosabiają poszczególne etapy seansu spirytystycznego. To album pełen niepokoju: zmienna rytmika, zmienne natężenie, częstotliwość i występowanie dźwięków tworzą odpowiednią atmosferę. Specyfiką muzyki Brandala jest rozwój i rozpad jej struktury na rozmaite cząstki i grupy dźwięków (od ambientowych plam, dronów po brzmienie gitary) oraz ruch mas dźwiękowych zmiennych w swej intensywności i gęstości. W wyniku ich zderzania występuje zjawisko przenikania i odpychania się, stwarzające słuchowe złudzenie deformacji (usterki). Ten album nie spędzi Wam snu z powiek. Może natomiast dostarczyć niezwykłych odczuć.

Na koniec ciekawostka: profesor Richard Wiseman z University of Hertfordshire eksperymentalnie udowodnił, że infradźwięki mogą powodować u ludzi dziwne odczucia (niepokój, smutek i dreszcze wzdłuż kręgosłupa) przypisywane obecności duchów w nawiedzonych miejscach.

Autor: BH 18 kwietnia 2014

Google translation:

Sounds and ghosts are phenomena associated with each other for a long time . Already famous inventor Thomas Edison concocting reflections on the recorder votes of deceased persons. In the 60s of the twentieth century, the Danish artist Friedrich Jürgenson recording birdsong accidentally recorded on tape from an unknown source sounds. It was a contribution to research the phenomenon of EVP . It is also known case of medium Rosemary Brown , the spirits of 12 famous composers (including Liszt , Chopin, Schubert , Schumann , Beethoven, Bach, Debussy , Igor Stravinsky ) ” helped ” write and perform compositions . Interestingly, all had the character of a virtuoso. Today our hero , Andreas Brandal explores another aspect of the relationship sound – ghosts : a sound recording séance.

The album ” Seance ” is readable by software. The works , kept in the concept of soundtrack embody the various stages séance . It’s an album full of anxiety : a variable rhythm , variable intensity , frequency and occurrence of sounds create the right atmosphere . The specificity of music Brandale is the development and disintegration of the structure of a variety of particles and groups of sounds (from ambient stains, the guitar drones ) and the movement of masses of sound variables in its intensity and density. As a result of the collision phenomenon of diffusion and repulsion , posing auditory illusion of deformation ( faults) . This album will not spend you awake at night. However, it may provide a unique feel.

At the end of a curiosity : Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire experimentally proved that infrasound can cause humans strange feeling ( anxiety , sadness, and chills along the spine) attributed to the presence of ghosts in haunted places.

Ambient Exotica:

Andreas Brandal – Seance – 2014

The medium is the message. Cited millions of times all over the world, Marshall McLuhan’s old tenet is taken to a new level by Bergen, Norway-based Ambient composer Andreas Brandal on his eight-track album Seance, released in February 2014 on Gavin Catling‘s Twice Removed Records and available to fully stream and purchase at Bandcamp in a digital edition or 50 hand-stamped CD-R’s. Here, the medium in form of an unnamed person is the springboard to preternatural sluices. The Australian label specializes on international artists and multitudinous styles, and it so happens that Dark Ambient has always been one prominent cornerstone of its history: releases like Ophion’s Sacrosanct and Be My Friend In Exile’s The Silence, The Darkness (both 2013) deliver eldritch panoramas made of synths and processed guitars, and Brandal’s work is brewed with the same ingredients. The focus and aesthetic realization, however, is different: Seance is a clear-cut concept album that is less about forsaken wastelands, grinding horror or life-threatening terror than an equilibrated setting. Mysteries and enigmas waft through every corner, even particles of healthy light find their way into the cavernous locale. One specific trick of Brandal’s repertory is worth noting, for it makes his album less of a cloak-and-dagger artifact and rather puts it near a genre that is normally not a distinct part of Dark Ambient in general: Space-Age full of kosmische glitters. Resemblant of another artist and work of Twice Removed Records’ back catalog, Oliwa’s Naturalia (2013), the strongly synthetic pads tumble, twirl and float through the ether. Here is a meticulous look at Seance which is well embedded in Andreas Brandal’s own coinage: “Your guide to the sonic afterlife.”

The first few seconds are on par with the listener’s expectations, only to mock them immediately: brazen clatters paw the ground on the opener Gathering, vaulted scrapes induce a portentous flurry. Portent, meanwhile, turns into virulence when the first Space-Age synth structures take over the scenery. While they warble and wobble like down-pitched theremins, not everything is sinister and eerie per se. In close proximity to the frequency gusts of the AM kind, sun-dappled harpsichord globs illumine the ashen scenery. It is the simultaneity of the cauterized coils, the oscillating blisters and luminescent flashes of euphony that makes this kick-off seem so surreal. The sepia-tinted haze wanes in the second track. Fittingly called Medium, it is eminently colder, supercharged with a braiding of saltatory blotches, helical argentine stardust glitters and mucous flumes multiplexing the weight of the universe in the background. The fluxion thins out, making room for the sound of electric current. This is usually the base for a shift, but Andreas Brandal shies away from unleashing Power Drone or Shoegaze structures and lets the aqueous undercurrent trickle away in a comparably mellifluous way. Progress, on the other hand, is more keen on aerose alkaline prongs. Elasticized to allow an echopraxia of legato washes, the track serves as the supernatural vestibule to the things to come. Medieval lutes of the retrogressive kind boost the pipe dream, feel like a long-lost fugacity and become enmeshed with ophidian adjuvants. The synthetic textures themselves harbor an aggressive core, but it is the beguiling gradient of the tone sequences which make this one a camouflaged, severely transmuted Dream Pop anthem and the – for the moment – last artifact bound to earth. For Seance turns into fiendish climes.

Communicating is the track that changes everything… and hides this fact. It does not feel like antimatter, not at all, as it is well entrapped in the Tartarean tomb. Notwithstanding this assertion, Andreas Brandal creates an allure that leads astray from the perigee and straight into the tumular transcendence. A silvery Ambient track with a sylphlike pith, Communicating is remarkably languorous, superfluously calm with only a modicum of glacial spikes and submarine-like pings towering above the hazy nebula. One should be very afraid, as the communication succeeds and does not sport any kind of recalcitrance, only erudite effulgence. Spirits is next and seems to be opposed to what I just implied, namely that Seance leaves Earth. Church bells and bucolic field recordings prove me wrong, I freely admit it, but they are mere figments, alatoric fragments aquiver with joy which lead to an antrum of anxiety. Metallic susurration, stokehold expectorations, vesiculating heating pipes and a misguided ignis fatuus hue the unreal location in a fallow light. Whereas the following Message bales cavalcades of New Age dark matter pads and opens a short window to the early 70’s and their spacious circumambience, the mucilaginous Ectoplasm activates the Geiger counter, seismograph and dot-matrix printer and slowly leads back to the earthen world of scholarship and science (seance ≠ science), as the awed participant(s) examine and process the epicurean vestige of their daring wrongdoing. Once the staccato chitchat of the electronics wanes, gossamer melodies are injected. They spawn triumph and solemnity. The acroamatic ending with its reciprocating rattles and clangs remains an arcanum though. The finale is fittingly named Conclusion, a deduction of transfiguring acoustic guitar aortas, whitewashed sirens plus an increasing – and definitely planned – chintziness. Spooky heterodynes remind of ancient mansions which turn whiter and paler until the album comes to a halt. The conclusion: man knows nothing. And only survived to cope with this burden.

Andreas Brandal’s Seance teases the listener, and if he or she happens to be a devoted fan of Dark Ambient movement or the adjacent Hauntology craze, this state can become increasingly unbearable as the album progresses. And this very state is, in a Lovecraftian twist, the savior of the album. Like it or not, but Brandal never ever leaves the comfortable habitat of the album’s endemics. The procession itself is shrouded in mystery, enshrined in excitement, alloyed with doubts, but the surfaces and melodies have no heavy liability. It would have been so easy for the Norse artist to astutely augment the hell out of a respective texture, letting it prosper, swell and then mutate until it reaches an oversaturated, overdriven, overabundant, over-whatnot state that grinds the bystander’s bones away, with a following cleansing of the unavoidable medulla splutters. As stated before, this is not the case, at no time during Seance. The sounds, synths and guitars make it possible for both the quiescence and related nebulae to reach into the cryptic world. No histrionic string of events is imposed, no overly cinematic protrusion presented, and no conclusion revealed. Yes, the listener receives a track whose title is Conclusion, but it is not of the rapturous explanatory kind. One does not know what to make of the whole seance: did the ritual work? Was it the first time it took place, and is it about to happen again? How many people or humanoids were involved? These things do not matter, but since Brandal provided the artwork and structured the work as a concept album, it is wise to treat it like that and search for an ultimate, if hopelessly ulterior meaning. The very nature of the topic prevents the listener from gaining it, no spoken words, no demonic messages, not even a fiendish snorting are interwoven. The experience itself is hence improved and interpolated. Dark New Age meets Space-Age, Drone and an infinitesimal capsule of Dream Pop: Seance is as intimate as it is alienating. It opens the mind and closes it all too happily at the same time.

Music Won’t Save You:

(Twice Removed, 2014)

Il prolifico norvegese Andreas Brandal (oltre una ventina di produzioni su etichette quali Smalltown Supersound e Basses Frequences) sonorizza nelle otto tracce di “Seance” qualcosa di molto simile ai vari passaggi della seduta spiritica richiamata dal titolo del disco e da quelli dei brani.

Dalla concentrata evocazione d’apertura (“Gathering”), al bizzarro “Medium” analogico e a sibili di distorte frequenze spettrali (“Communicating” e “Message”), fino al riavvolgimento del nastro della “Conclusion”, il lavoro è un flusso di coscienza inquieta e inquietante, resa attraverso contorsioni droniche di tastiere e rumori sinistri, che disegnano una spaventosa colonna sonora sci-fi.

Da non ascoltare prima di addormentarsi.

(Google translation:

The prolific Norwegian Andreas Brandal (over twenty productions on labels such as Smalltown Supersound and Basses fréquences) plays music in the eight tracks of “Seance” something very similar to the various steps in the seance called by the title of the album and those songs.

From the concentrated evocation opening (“Gathering”), to the bizarre “Medium” analog hiss and distortion of spectral frequencies (“Communicating” and “Message”), up to rewind the tape of the “Conclusion”, the work is a stream of uneasy conscience and disturbing, made through contortions droniche keyboards and noises claims, which draw a scary sci-fi soundtrack.

Do not listen to before falling asleep.)

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