Review Summary: Not the easiest record but a beauty it is.
Æthenor is a band/project that at it's core consists of Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O))), Thorr's Hammer) and Daniel O'Sullivan (Guapo). For this album they've been accompanied by Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver) and Steve Noble. According to the sleeve this record was composed in three days. And the result of three days work?
En Form for Blå, which is Norwegian and roughly translates to A Form for the Blue, is a hard record to describe. There are no apparent song structures or a lot of repeating melody lines. The music is best described as very minimal free-jazz atmospheric drone that comes closest to the sound of Ulver, but it is closer to a filmscore than it is to an actual record. Don't expect any heavy guitars like on Sunn O)))'s records, they are not here. Actually you shouldn't expect any of the classic rock instruments, even if they are used on this record they don't produce any standard rock sounds. All the songs on this record are beautiful crafted landscapes made of sound.
What's apparent from the start is that the percussion work of Steve Noble is all over this record. But he never uses his percussion to create a beat, it's always used to put the trees where they belong to keep with the landscape metaphor. Steve's free-jazz style of percussion can be very present in some of the songparts but it never feels like he is too present, he never overplays but always augments the existing songparts.
En Form for Blå isn't a happy record. The songs creep and crawl and always give you this 'impending doom' feeling that something is about to happen. Partly because of the sound and partly because you never know what's coming next because of the lack of structure in the songs. But this record also has some jazz influences that sooth and relax the mind that it unsettled just a few minutes before that.
En Form for Blå isn't for everybody simply because this isn't the easiest record to get into, but once you do you'll hear an amazing record that you will play over and over again, because you want to grasp every small detail of it.