CD, Some Place Else, 2007
An interesting question of musical convention is that of how long a single track should be, or of how to produce an epic piece of music stretching many tens of minutes, without becoming overly drawn out and losing the listener’s attention. So with the limit being set at the length of a compact disc, the single-track album can often be a daunting listening experience. Dark ambient is one of the few musical genres which is suitable for such excessive lengths, and here Moljebka Pvlse has certainly made a fair attempt at carrying off the one track epic.
Moljebka Pvlse is a Swedish project centred on the Stockholm based artist Mathias Josefson, who here takes care of the more organic elements of voice, guitars and cymbals, while nine different colleagues assist with contributions ranging from more conventional roles such as synths and electric piano to the unusual supercollider and “no-input mixer”. Being a mix of electronic, acoustic and found sounds the overall product is therefore rich and moving, and more importantly gradually evolving and sufficiently captivating. High pitched scraping sounds between violins and sheet metal frequently dominate the proceedings, and vague whispering voices also increase the unsettling atmosphere.
Sadalsuud is a star in the Aquarius constellation named after an Arabic phrase meaning “the luckiest of them all”. This is a surprisingly optimistic title for such a dark and haunting record, and the claustrophobic sound appears to be aimed towards the ground rather than the stars. The impressive cover artwork is more suitable to the feel of the music, a grainy sepia photograph of bare trees in winter on the front and a sombre deserted house on the back.
It has to be said, as with most albums consisting of one long track, that there are places in “Sadalsuud” where things begin to drag and appear repetitive. For all the different musicians involved the same voices and sounds recur with increasing frequency, and around the mid-section there is a feeling that we are not actually going to reach any real conclusion. Luckily, new sounds develop leading to a heightened tension, before a rather intimidating crescendo of metallic scraping jars the nerves. This gives way to some disturbing processed vocals, followed by some more delicate and calming strings to inspire a more subtle emotional response, before the harsh noises return to cause upset once again!
Finally then, there is enough variety here to make a worthwhile album, and some sections would be very powerful when taken as short edits, but it is never quite possible to escape from the feeling that the artists present were at times over-indulging themselves and getting a little carried away.
— Nathan Clemence