Showing 8 posts tagged ulver

Ulver - Capitel III: Graablick blev hun vaer

I guess these are the initial visions—the basic fields in which Ulver work. They arrive in a gentle menace:

1. A car abandoned on a hill that, in its new, private time, calculates the rate of evacuation.

2. Black metal. If you are a black metal band you immediately assume a career in frost. Ulver is warm. There are choirs in the trees.

3. Feasted crops, somewhere in Nebraska.

4. Traditional black metal production is terrible and willfully so. Vacant needly guitars are excused as hypnotic. Ulver are like this and not like this. They achieve both depth of field and flat horror.

5. The impressive brightness of bone.

6. Perhaps the most forceful, present element is the rhythm, like a body borne down a hill. It is unchecked. It tears irrevocably through the scene, leaving fabric. It is unconsciously felt at this point; this is simply the direction which things—reeds, lakes, blood—tend.

7. There is an effect of thunder in this song.

8. Then, in the traditional aesthetic of black metal, the elements sew into each other, a nightmare of texture. Drums are guitars are a chair in a concert of trees, illness in the seat. It is less tension than an imperial flooding.

9. Ulver were a black metal band from Norway. They formed in 1993. They are something else now.

Ulver - Hymn II: Of Wolf and the Devil

8 Short Poems About Needles

Hey, if we keep doing this
someone is going to get hurt
or glued to a fearful certainty
or reintegrated
in another country
as the fist of a tree. 

Ulver releases Nattens madrigal
in 1997. In 1997 in Maiac, Moldova,
two masts of the Grigoriopol transmitter
ice over, collapse,
feed horizontally into the earth.

There were five people in Ulver
when they recorded Nattens Madrigal.
Nattens Madrigal sounds like the hair 
of one bird just escaped through a hole
in a fence.

The drums here are a vacant,
epileptic pulse, like a remembered

The production here is
so much more than that of
Bertgatt. It is a crawl
through felt. It is even
more than that of
Transylvanian Hunger,
the Darkthrone record that
doubles as a narrative
of a man on fire forever.

I have a real admiration for this sound, like a
new profound dedication to the red dots
in one’s vision. I like the unchecked
commitment to refining a certain, dimming
perspective to a holistic noise, to an
ultimate curve, one that is certain
only of a desperate struggle and
the end of that struggle. One that
is quickly unloading reality
like blood. A grim, heroic reduction
to featurelessness—I see in this
the geometry of human endeavor,
a glass cube, glowing intensely in the light,
like a plane wing.

Other things we have noticed:
- We are trapped in a body that,
we are increasingly certain, is
composed in thorn.
- There are calendars hung on the wall
from the colder years, dates circled
with no real intention. 
- There is no bottom but if there
is and you are falling you will
never meet it.
- The shadows deepen on the hillside.
- Our bones are now three inches longer
than they were in the previous year. 

To carry lead in your stomach
is to be free. 

Ulver - It is Not Sound



"To get there, you drive to Fourth and Woodland, right before you are borne back on the 80 toward California and irreversibility."

"What is there?"

"No one lives there, so the wind is harder. Do you long for a supernatural connection to the highway? To be overcome by a shape in the mountains? The imprint of a river, unseen but for the high grasses, which modify the mountains, mountains which are dislocated teeth set in a geologic perspective."

"What grows there?"

"Nothing, maybe. It is desert so there is no need to underestimate the desolate trend. But I like to imagine some wild raspberry bushes, the crowded limbs of which try to to find some new room in the ground. Someone speaks from the periphery but he slips in and out of English, out of language, into nightmare."

Ulver - In the Red

This song absorbs some figures of big band jazz. There are trumpets and clarinets for which I have not yet found a source. The previous song, “It is Not Sound,” is grafted by “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565.” Though it is attributed to Bach it was not necessarily composed by Bach and may be the work of some intense Baroque scholar untying a national ribbon. The toccata itself rejects a century of forms. It may also be the gentle victim of a careless, estimated transcription.

Ulver - Lost in Moments

"In the 1830s, the Panopticon became the architectural programme of most prison projects. It was the most direct way of expressing ‘the intelligence of discipline in stone’ (Lucas, I, 69); of making architecture transparent to the administration of power; of making it possible to substitute for force or other violent constraints the gentle efficiency of total surveillance"
— Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, pg. 249 

"Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within. The world was outside of him, around him, before him, and the speed with which it kept changing made it impossible for him to dwell on any one thing for very long. Motion was of the essence, the act of putting one foot in front of the other and allowing himself to follow the drift of his own body. By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal, and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere."
 Paul Auster, City of Glass, pg. 9 

"It is compact, but takes its sweet time. Never rushed, yet always rushing towards its next rhetorical anguish. It has a cumulative momentum and is very much of a piece… It is ancient text, but it is forever downloading its own updates. Synthesisers. Post-production. Multiplicity of voices.”
— ILX user “country matters” on 
Blood Inside, May 26, 2009

Lines 704-707: A system, etc.

The fitting-in of the threefold ‘cells interlinked’ is most skillfully managed, and one derives logical satisfaction from the ‘system’ and ‘stem’ interplay.” 
— Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire, pg. 253

"What could have been merely a sarcastic air-kiss to a dying genre takes on a more tentative, ambiguous and risky valence, and sets in motion the agenda for the entire album to come: an esoteric populism that deliberately blows hot and cold; a series of vampiric simulations that both betray and extend the musical traditions they feed upon."
Drew Daniel, 33 1/3: 20 Jazz Funk Greats, pg. 50 

The first few listens are a confusing and admittedly unpleasant experience. Numerous online reviews awkwardly trumpet Blood Inside as Ulver reborn in Doom Metal’s oblong box, or as apparent heir to so much shit left uncovered by Goth’s trophy outfit, Skinny Puppy; this is emphatically not the case. With Blood Inside, Ulver manage to create a record that simultaneously embraces the jejune and unmediated qualities of N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys with a hilariously unformed idea of what Before and After Science era Eno was/is all about.”
— Stuart Voegtlin, on Blood Inside in Stylus Magazine, June 21, 2005

"As I fell asleep I heard music. I didn’t have a radio, but it wasn’t the type of music played over the radio anyway. It was wild, cacophonous, and there was an off-beat of drums pounding. My laugh was harsh, rasping. I continued to laugh and the salty taste in my mouth came from the unchecked tears running down my cheeks."
— Charles Willeford, Pick-Up, pg. 98

"Chrome tail pipes leaking irreducible mist."
Brad Nelson, on Perdition City: Music for an Interior Film, March 3, 2011

"The whole scene quivered vague and mysterious in the green light, then the door closed and the sound muted down.

It was too much for me. I removed my glasses and tucked the white hat carefully beneath my arm and walked away. Can it be, I thought, can it actually be? And I knew that it was. I had heard of it before but I’d never come so close. Still, could he be all of them: Rine the runner and Rine the gambler and Rine the briber and Rine the lover and Rinehart the Reverend? Could he himself be both rind and heart? What is real anyway? But how could I doubt it? He was a broad man, a man of parts who got around. Rinehart the rounder. It was true as I was true. His world was possibility and he knew it. He was years ahead of me and I was a fool. I must have been crazy and blind. The world in which we lived was without boundaries. A vast seething, hot world of fluidity, and Rine the rascal was at home.
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, pg. 498

"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method."
— Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale, pg. 395

In 2003, Ulver composed the score for the Norwegian film Svidd Neger. The movie details two families on a mountain in rural Norway. They interface with each other in methods simpering and vulgar. Someone was killed. Someone is haunted and annoyed at the aspect. Someone wishes to transcend their mislaid station but through language. The landscape is overwhelming.

Ulver also composed the music for the short film Lyckantropen, released in 2002.

Ulver - Eitttlane

Ulver released an EP in 2003 called A Quick Fix of Melancholy. Its terminus, “Eitttlane,” is a remix of “Nattleite,” from their second record, Kveldssanger, released in 1995.

Ulver - Nattleite

Which brings us to this. It is raining outside, hard enough to make one suspect that there is a vacuum and it is being filled. I guess no one ever really owned that car. Given enough years everyone is a complete protein.

It is now religiously clear to me that Ulver is about what is subtracted. Also: what radiates. They remixed this song for an EP in 2003 so that it could punctuate some 20 minutes of stringed instruments slipped imperceptibly into a taxonomy of breathing. Here the basic piece is ornate, but narrow. In these strict hours we quote your friend and mine, ILX user “country matters,” at the very least for his instructive work on wormholes: “Think of the album as providing these unlikely resolutions, and using the fact that it has demonstrated these resolutions to be possible as a means to fully inhabit their space, to plunge deeper. To rip open the wormhole and then to fly fearlessly into it.” He is talking about Blood Inside in 2009 but that is what he does.

What Ulver do: allow for a certain continental drift; reduce essential word and structure to an excited gnawing over meaning. The final result is interdisciplinary: In 1995, in the interstice of their two canonical black metal records, Ulver designed 35 minutes of Norwegian classical music. What seems composed is but air and shape in a modern trap. The time laid between when you leave and when you arrive is negotiable. There are maps that escape the basic rectangle.

I can’t think about Ulver because they seem to have done all the thinking for me, and some of the unthinking. They represent a renewed literacy in objects of ritual. They perceive in accumulating anomie a blessed order. They are terribly invested in where the quiet goes. Someone hears a car crash, in another city. 

Ulver is not a black metal band. Ulver is a black metal band. Rain collects somewhere in the body.