Review: Erik K. Skodvin - Flame

Erik K Skodvin - FlameSound rises as if through séance; a conjuring in the centre of the room, as a congregation of baited, expectant voices drift in from the perimeter. Sustained piano notes – low, like late night murmurs – abseil into the quiet, while guitar feedback voices its whimpering anxiety from one corner, knocking restlessly into cymbals and skins. Each piece seems to peer into its own climactic future and then shut off prematurely, seemingly aware of a miserable fate that awaits them within; the music feels doughnut-shaped, wrapped around a void in which all meaning and sense of totality is hidden. String drones hang like limbs over the edge, while rhythmic loops stall and teeter as though missing an essential piece.

Naturally the unknown makes me somewhat nervous, although there’s a certain elegance to the music’s anticipative levitation. On “Moving Mistake” I tightrope-walk above the black as if to stare into the eyes of death and unknowing, strings and cymbals gasping at my feat on either side. Meanwhile, “Drowning Whistling” forms a gigantic orchestral lattice, with broad strips of horn and violin intersecting the feedback that quivers adjacently – I lay upon it like a hammock, swaying as the instruments each recede and then reappear. I am never exposed to what lies within, and at the album’s conclusion I am carried into a bliss beyond care.