Review – Guy Andrews – Tåke – by Kevin Thompson

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

Buy ‘Tåke’ from bandcamp


StormLapse aka Chad Cowan is an award-winning photographer, licensed UAV pilot, and filmmaker who has been chasing storms across America’s Tornado Alley over the past 10 years and 150,000 miles. His goal is to capture the awe inspiring beauty of nature in the most extreme and violent weather on earth. His footage struck a chord with Guy Andrews leading to it being used in his new video for ‘It Cannot Surface’ which you can watch here:

Speaking on Chad’s work, Guy comments, “He manages to capture the evolving power of nature and its humbling sense of scale. Nature is an unparalleled force to overpower almost anything that stands up to challenge it. A constantly evolving force which cannot ever be fully controlled; it makes our efforts seem futile when trying to dominate this planet. Mother Earth can exercise huge levels of restraint against human’s intentions to interfere: this is the concept which ‘It Cannot Surface’ is based on.

Influenced by the principals of nature’s power, I decided to create a dynamic element in the composition which has the ability to override what would be key features of a song. I did this by creating a chaotic sea of reverb that drowns the prominent elements of the track – the drums and melody – occasionally letting them rise to the surface for air, only to be submerged once again.”

‘It Cannot Surface’ is taken from Guy Andrews’ new album ‘Tåke’ [Norwegian for “mist” or “fog”]. Released on 22nd September via Houndstooth it is a brooding aural landscape, weaving textures and soaring rhythms with energy and restraint to draw upon the haunting sense of change in our time, and explore the space in which we find ourselves.

Guy Andrews is a London based musician known for creating dark, atmospheric music by combining an array of influences from post-rock, techno and electronica to create expansive cinematic masterpieces. His new album was inspired by his visit to Scandinavia last year.  A cancelled return flight from Norway due to fog left Guy with some time to explore his surroundings.

He comments, “I had some extra time to explore Bergen, the city where I was staying. I ended walking up a small mountain and at the top was greeted by a stunning view of Norway’s fjords – it was such a stark contrast to where I was living at the time that it inspired me to write music that reflects the reward you get from exploring new environments.

Writing ‘It Cannot Surface’, it almost felt like the sounds were being submerged, briefly coming above water for air, then being sucked back down. The drums barely surface from the reverb they’re being drowned in – it was an exercise of restraint.”  

Having scored for world-renowned photographer Nadav Kander, as well as collaborating with Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja in the past, ‘Tåke’ sees Guy Andrews working with acclaimed musician Alev Lenz on the haunting and stunning track ‘The Clearing’ and the sinister and pulsating ‘Feelings’. Her music was recently featured in the final episode ‘Hated in The Nation’ of season 3 of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.

The artwork for Tåke features an oil painting commissioned by critically acclaimed painter Jake Wood-Evans, whose recent work is being currently featured in Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery following a solo exhibition in Unit London.
Following his début album last year on Houndstooth with Our Spaces, 2017 has already seen Guy Andrews record at the legendary Maida Vale studio with Masayoshi Fujita for BBC Radio 3.

After a period of writing and producing ambient music under various aliases, Guy Andrews’ eponymous discography includes music for the critically acclaimed Hemlock record label, Erased Tapes and Scuba’s Hotflush, gaining support from tastemakers Bonobo, Massive Attack, Mary Anne Hobbs, Ulrich Schnauss, Max Cooper and Ben UFO.

1 – Guy Andrews & Alev Lenz – The Clearing
2 – Guy Andrews – Trails
3 – Guy Andrews – Fjell
4 – Guy Andrews – It Cannot Surface
5 – Guy Andrews & Alev Lenz – Feelings
6 – Guy Andrews – There Was Nothing You Could Have Done
7 – Guy Andrews – Buried Within
8 – Guy Andrews – The Clearing (Reprise)