Album Review

Gjoll – “Way Though Zero ” – [Ant-Zen]

Max Level   6/10/2006   A Library, CD

A challenging journey to be sure. Icelandic duo Gjoll uses pulsing backgrounds, washes of synthetic noise, and whispered/spoken/yelled vocals to portray what seems to be the evolution of a man’s inner dialog from unsatisfied to accusatory to hateful to, ultimately, resigned and more or less at peace. The music follows the same arc, with the intensity level highest in Part 3, a horror of thick, crashing electronics and voice corroded into unrecognizability. The 18-minute Part 5 (no vocals) sort of sums up the whole thing; a long section of tense soundscape is followed by 6 minutes of gentle, thoughtful keyboard sounds. If not on Ant-Zen, this well-conceived, brilliantly executed work would certainly have been at home on the Cold Meat Industry label. All vocals in Icelandic, with English translations in the booklet.

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