Natt´s new instrumental album is music for the night - the repetitive parts will mesmerize you while the broad musical scope will induce a tonic calm.
The city of Bergen, surrounded by mountains and deep fjords, is an important musical melting pot in Norway, not least for metal-related music. A new band called Natt (Night) has emerged in this west-coastal city. The band eludes any pigeon-hole you want to put it in. At least we can determine that it is rooted in Metal-related music as the music is created by René Misje (Krakow, Trust Us) and Roy Ole Førland (Lindy-Fay Hella, Kari Rueslåtten, Malignant Eternal). They both bring a range of electronic instruments to the table in addition to piano and bass. And they are joined by session musicians Lord Bård on bass and Iver Sandøy (Enslaved) on drums and percussion.
With their skills and a wide variety of electronic instruments, they scoop from the primordial soup of 70s Electronic music, mix it with the timbre of modern-day Post-Rock and a dash of Ambient dreamy sonics to create a truly original 45 minutes long album. The music slides along the line between light and dark with the synths folding out a wide musical canvas with a multitude of tone colors blending together throughout the album.
In an interview with The Smashing Skull Sessions the artist Jo Quail said “Heaviness is an emotional concept rather than an expression of volume” and Natt is here to prove it with three long tracks spanning the album. And they do so right from the start with the opener ”Skillevei” which in Norwegian has more than one connotation - a place where paths part, a turning point, or facing a decisive choice.
Anyway, ”Skillevei” opens with a short hit on the cymbals and the music glides in on a glacier of darker undercurrents and slows down. It is lifted again by a distorted guitar solo leading to calmer synth-based sonics dripping out a melodic theme that follows through the track. The drums are working to sustain the music and give a smooth drive as it floats along with bursts of a high-pitched note sparkling far away. The music turns slightly heavier and a guitar in Post-Rock mode follows the theme and after a while becomes the undercurrent in the many layers of Electronic music and smooth-moving sound effects. The music develops into a fusion of Ambient Electronic music and Post-Rock as it is pulsating forward. It is slowly building some repetitive and mesmerizing sonics which are ebbing and flowing. When the song suddenly halts you might want to just stay in the mood being closed off from the world. But you can´t as the next track, ”Appell” is already upon you.
Again, a word with a couple of connotations just as “appeal” in English has, but in Norwegian, it is also the word for the military roll call. The title might be a nod to the latter as it is quite rhythmic and repetitive without coming close to boring after it opens with distorted a guitar repeating a riff with fast droplets from the synths. The rhythmic drive changes ever so often with a subtle change of the guitar. The synths and electronic instruments are enveloping the repetitive rhythm. A glissading Post-Rock guitar pushes itself high-pitched through the many layers. These patterns make the music vibrant as synths snake around in it up to a release that broadens an ethereal ambient electronic soundscape pushed onward by the rhythm. It builds upwards becoming more and more lush and meditative until it disappears and only fast, light tones are left alone with the rhythm from the drums.
The previous tracks show how visionary music becomes when you fuse genres from all over the musical spectrum and from five-plus decades of underground musical styles. That becomes even more obvious on the last twenty-minute track, ”Etterslått” (to mow grass that has grown up after the first or second mowing). It is not for the impatient ones who need quick gratification. It opens with sounds resembling the music made by Hildur Guðnadóttir for the TV-series Chernobyl to describe the empty gaping vaults. Or we might say the light breeze in vast catacombs. And it ends with a multiple crescendo worthy of any modern Post-Metal band. But what is also striking - intended or not - it’s formed like the track ”Fly And Collison Of The Comas Sola” by Tangerine Dream back in 1971. That track also begins quietly and ends with a crescendo of sounds, but built around timpanis and drums instead of distorted guitars, piano and synths as on Natt´s track.
Well, as mentioned before, the track opens deep in dark catacombs and evolves very slowly as light showers of synths are released into the darkness. The drums emerge ever so slowly while heavy, bewildering sounds echo through the dark. A low-tuned piano appears along dark sonics from the synth. The sound of the latter gives nods to those of 70s Electronica as it develops the music further with a repetitive musical pattern. The instruments build the soundscape around the theme with a clavinet sounding like a guitar taking the lead. It morphs into synths in flute mode intensifying the sonics until it flattens out with an icy soundscape before the melodic repetitive theme returns. But now with heavy music led by drums, guitars and piano sprinkled with cymbals. Multilayered synths take over to lead the long crescendo into a vibrant Post-Metal mood with subtle changes in the ebb and flow of the music.
It demands a clear head and a clear vision to fuse together so many musical genres and styles and still come out with a coherent album produced and mastered so well to let every little timbre be heard. The album will confuse some, and irritate the impatient, but reward us aficionados who value venturing into new musical waters led by visionary musicians. Luckily for the band we are in the majority at this corner of the underground music scene.