Saturday, February 12, 2022

EL / NeUe - Krank [Kulturinstutisjonen Piivv 041]

Coming in from Norway only recently and seemingly released in June of 2k21 is "Krank", the latest album outing thought up by the duo of Askild Hagen and Hakon Johnson operating under the name of EL / NeUe, a reincarnation or 2k21 spin-off of the former Norwegian band x project EL which put out a cassette demo as well as a 7" single in 1985 and 1987 respectively before vanishing into obscurity for more than three decades. Now they're back on the circuit, presenting a body of work rolled out over 11 songs and approx. 44 minutes runtime, put out on the circuit as a limited to 200 copies CD album via the underground label Kulturinstutisjonen Piivv, providing a musical arc running from deep, dreamy Synthwave x ethereal (Neo)Cosmic in the opener "Prosopagnosia" to dark, dramatic Goth elegies to be found in the subsequent "Ich Bin Krank" to fascinating, yet dark SynthPop hypermelancholia in "Til A Begynne Med Skjedde Det Heller Ingenting" or "Short Song". Furthermore, songs like the ingeniously titled "(I Wish I Was) Billie Eilish' Grandmother *Album Edit" provide thundering beats for strobe-lit Goth / EBM dancefloors, "Mannen Uten Ansikt" amalgamates thrilling organo-mechanical grooves and cinematic vintage synth pads to a well cinematic, yet dancefloor-friendly effect whereas "Jeg Er Overveldet Av Min Egen Godhet *Album Edit" harks back to brooding SynthPop of yore whilst the concluding cut "Nar Er Det Pa Tide" which sees Ellady on microphone duties for the second time on this longplayer, once again provides a sense of ethereal beauty found in darkness just to name a few. Quite a beautiful and emotionally touching come back after all these years which is one to check out for all those drawn to the darker, melancholia-infused side of life, yet slightly flawed by the somewhat muffled and mushy overall mixdown which might be either intended and therefore to be regarded as a stylistic choice or probably a result of a diy underground approach to mixing and mastering a.k.a. the lack of access to a high end studio console and a professional sound engineer. Nonetheless, well charming and and interesting addition to every music collection.


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