Guy Andrews says he was drawn to write his latest album ‘Tåke’ (Norwegian for mist/fog), when his return flight from Norway was cancelled due to fog, leaving him with time to explore Bergen, the city where he was staying. He walked up a small mountain to the top revealing a stunning view of Norway’s fjords, in such stark contrast to where he was living at the time that it inspired ideas of layered textures, revealing aural landscapes.
With only two tracks on the album containing vocals, collaborations with renowned musician Alev Lenz, this mostly instrumental captures heavy atmospheres and layers of influences with ghost like rhythms that rise and fall like ripples in a stone struck pond.
The haunting violins and soft vocals from Alev toy with your emotions on The Clearing, synthesised sounds wrapping round you like a damp sea fret, a succubus to drag you into the depths of despair, until she disappears leaving you lost and disorientated.
A synthesised echo creeps out of the mist toward you from a John Carpenter lair, whilst looping guitars circle like dark minions waiting to do it’s bidding on Trails. Brief glimpses as they burst toward you and fade again enhancing the feeling of panic, guitars cutting in to hold them at bay and building in tempo. It all slows and drifts away like gossamer threads of a dissipating fog, burned off by the rising sun.
Heart pumping percussive notes and guitar chimes drive you up the Fjell (The modern Norwegian translation being ‘Mountain’), pulling you higher to survey the landscape before you. Taking in the municipality west of Bergen, (which has also adopted the name) of a group of small islands surrounded by fjords. Seguing into a modern dance beat that increases the impetus, there is a short breather with just guitar chords before the sound surrounds you again in a euphoric climax.
The online video available for the next track, It Cannot Surface, matches the music perfectly. The deep, dark rumbles of the menacing armada of clouds advancing across the fields, engulfing the landscape and swallowing the light in it’s pitch black maw. Seemingly unstoppable, the sheer terror of nature revealed in all it’s glory as they move toward a wind farm in the distance, the turbines dwarfed by the enormity of the approaching storm, vanes spinning furiously and appearing to lean into the battle, they are consumed like ants. Bolts of lightning pierce the landscape like javelins as the clouds roll furiously, clashing against the light. Hay bales like motionless sentries at their posts, are unable to join the fray against an unassailable foe. Fulgurations of lightning are buried in the dense nebulous blanket, trailing tendrils of rainstorms as they pass overhead unabated, the music fading on a hopeful band of light in the distance. I don’t think I have ever felt such intensity and drama all squeezed into a couple of minutes music, before. It’s epic in the enormity of it’s scope and my favourite track on the album.
Alev joins Guy again to display their Feelings over the remnants of the receding storm, interspersed with bursts of kinetic energy and mourning strings, the petrichor infused ozone permeating the refreshed orchestration.
Surveying the damage and flooding from the storm leaves you with the helpless realisation that, There Was Nothing You Could Have Done, under the weight of droning notes and fluttering instrumentation.
In the aftermath, the turmoil of feelings Buried Within dissipate and the guitars issue in a renewed vigour to carry you through what needs to be done. A calmness oversees your actions and a determination of heavy riffs replaces the ferment.
The Clearing Reprise of piano refrain and washes of strings, shows you promise of a new dawn, free from turbulence, to end with renewed hope as the album is brought gently to a close.
Guy Andrews throws varying influences into this melting pot of an album, which plays like a soundtrack. Tåke is orchestral in it’s arrangement, veering from ambient to dance, even flashes of metal, which Guy works into a triumph of musical nature. This is a darkly beautiful album, with a recommendation you listen in an unlit room whilst in repose and undisturbed, letting it drift over you to wash the chaos of your day away.
Released 22nd September 2017