Svartsinn - Mørkets Variabler
“The cloak of darkness is upon the deep of matter; within its folds I struggle. Beneath my gaze it deepens, Lord; it is dispelled beneath the waving of thy hand. A shadow moveth, creeping like the stretching serpent coils… It grows, swells out and disappears in darkness.” (The Seven Portals, Blavatsky)
Imagine the darkness not as the absence of light, but as a thing unto itself; stuff of a different consistency than light. For a different purpose, but a purpose all its own. This darkness surrounds you, awaits you, offers itself to you. It is what allows you to be; it is material from which you can create the world.
In darkness, you can see both within and outside of yourself the shape and texture that you envision within your mind; a shape and texture, form and personality, character and soul that you create from within yourself and ascribe to the world as you encounter it. And in this way you create the world. And the world needs you to create it just this way or the world would not have created you.
The darkness of which I speak is the playground of the imagination, of creativity, of your deepest self. But imagine also that each of us has his own darkness to carry, an own darkness to craft with, an own darkness to be proud of. And in fact, the latest album from the well-known norwegian artist Svartsinn concentrates exactly on the theme of the various types of darkness that one can obtain on his journey called “life”.
Without a doubt, Jan Roger Pettersen, the mastermind behind Svartsinn project, is one of the most recognizable names of the modern dark ambient scene. Unlike the other acts in the horde of dark ambient artists that popped up all around recently, Jan Roger continues to sharpen his musical craftsmanship for 20 years, demonstrating with each album that he is one of the leading forces of the genre. The evolution of Svartsinn’s music can be clearly observed while the artist invests a lot of effort to improve the sound quality and production skills alongside with the constant search for the strong inspirational themes. His latest record under the codename “Morkets Variabler” can be the best example and the crown of such an in-depth approach to the music creation process expanded in more than 60 minutes of the running time.
Seven types of darkness are in my hand and every one of them is a unique expression of the deepest processes inside the human souls. Despite being unique, these processes have a great deal in common as soon as they reflect radical and even destructive forces of feelings and emotions. Every track of “Morkets Variabler” album is a direct challenge to those senses, a direct examination of the conditions that have such a radical effect. The listener can search for the visible references to the stories or places which influenced the artist, but I am not sure that it is completely necessary, because the music of Jan Roger is cinematic enough to immerse you in its special atmosphere.
Yes, cinematics is a key word for all the seven tracks and one can feel it from the very first tunes of the opening “And in This Cloak of Darkness I Cast My Shadow Short”. A small research on the origin of the idea links me with the biographic book which is called “Ghost Boy” that tells me an amazing story of Martin Pistorius. By the means of an ultra-rare illness the guy was trapped in paralyzed body without being able to even communicate in any way with the surrounding world while remaining conscious for several years. All the desperation of being treated like a ghost, like a vegetable, trapped in your own darkness, is being transferred into the ambience of the composition. The floating monotonous melody is full of different accidental sounds, scratches and clicks, and it seems that the whole life marches on by somebody whose life is simply frozen. A truly weird feeling that Martin himself describes as:
“Have you ever seen one of those movies in which someone wakes up as a ghost but they don’t know that they’ve died? That’s how it was, as I realised people were looking through and around me.” (Martin Pistorius)
Jan Roger crafts carefully, brick by brick, the soundscape that can reflect the proper sense of darkness in each piece of “Morkets Variabler”. Implementing different sampled voices inside “Nietzsche's Lament” adds a some kind of a personal touch which invites the listener to fill the spoken texts with a special meaning. A background melody stays in a constant flux and transformation maintaining the fragile balance between the conscious and unconscious.
Conceptuality and cinematics walk hand by hand through the whole album. For example, the 3rd composition “In Echoes of Silent Cries” sends the listener to the special location on the northwestern flank of Japan's Mountain Fuji, “Aokigahara” or “A Sea of Trees”. The forest has a historical reputation as a home to yurei: ghosts of the dead in Japanese mythology, Aokigahara has become internationally known as "the Suicide Forest", one of the world's most prevalent suicide sites. A deep and hypnotic melody resonates with the sobbing sound of a cello presented by Amund Ulvestad and draws parallels with the story behind the track when different obscure voices scream for salvation on the background. Jan Roger creates skillfully a formal negotiation of the interplay between a three-dimensional image and four-dimensional form of sound by all sorts of manipulations with senses and emotions. A mid-tempo shamanic drum enters the scene by the middle of this long track adding even more hypnotism into the atmosphere, conjuring the lost souls of the dead.
When you start to think that you had already reached the very depth, Svartsinn throws you even deeper with “In The Wake of Azathoth”, dragging you into the obscure ambience of monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space. Better be armed with the best gear for this track, because the bass and all its elements are so sick, it seems that it is possible to cut them with a knife. The waves of bass hit the shores of my consciousness as I reach the most depressive composition “Yearning Part 2” where the majestic drones of the truly melancholic melody leave no space to doubt the ability of Jan Roger to create the ultimate masterpieces of dark ambient genre, powerful and, at times, terrifying and hauntingly thoughtful. Layers upon layers upon layers, the sounds are mixed with the dreams, the tunes morph into images, the drones pull the strings of the deep-seated feelings and emotions, and everything fades away with the final track “Vemod” in which the classic sound of Svartsinn receives a slightly different perspective with the specks of cello.
With “Morkets Variabler” the listener receives the unique opportunity to expand beyond the borders of the individual and to celebrate the potential harmony of inner-darkness. The determination of the author to question the listeners’ perception through the four-dimensional form of sound founds its natural manifestation in the evolving philosophy of feeling, the feeling of darkness as an inseparable part of each and every character. WIll you embrace this part of yourself or will you not, this album will give you enough material to make the right decision.Dec 09 2018
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Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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