Review: Pjusk – Tele

Of all of the Glacial Movements releases I’ve heard, Tele is the one that stirs most potently within the label’s chosen aesthetic. The album was predominantly recorded in a cabin in the mountains and inspired by the harsh weather of Norway, and it’s almost as though the duo have merely dragged the surrounding landscape and chilly temperature directly into the realm of audio – slithers of synthesiser resemble streams gushing gracefully through frozen rock, while notes bend as they pass through bitter, sub-zero winds. The label terms itself as “glacial and isolationist ambient”, and Pjusk exist very explicitly within both key terms – it’s a record that shimmers through cascades of powder crystal, while weighing heavy with the solemn contemplation of loneliness.

The album emerges gently – opening with the unnerving wobble of wooden panels, as if such a noise has awoken the band from slumber – and Pjusk begin to musically assemble the sounds plucked out of the wintery ether. Earlier tracks float delicately through the endless horizons of bleak white frost, with sounds seemingly imagined onto the landscape’s relentless emptiness. Later on, low frequencies are used to create anchoring loops, allowing for the rest of the soundscape to fall mercy to the erosion and movement brought about by the aggressively imposing weather. Where “Krystall” implements subtle bass thuds and melodies tumbling in on themselves, “Granitt” is (as its title aptly implies) much more firm in its rhythmic insistence, ticking through an ominous, droning techno resting state, with strung out horn tones rubbing up against hydraulic hisses and gorgeous momentary rushes of arctic gale. Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the record is how it demonstrates Pjusk’s manipulation of sound as shape – a fact that manifests in the almost tangible bubbles of ambience drifting through “Kram”, but also in the conjuration of the detailed, immersive landscape as a whole.