Vali
Skogslandskap


5.0
classic

Review

by Wayfaerer USER (1 Reviews)
September 2nd, 2013 | 182 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A worthy successor to Forlatt, and a continuation of Vali's musical genius.

It's been nine years since Forlatt first appeared, floating up as if from a dream. And in that time, Vali has earned a spot in the highest echelons of modern neofolk, standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Ulver, Empyrium, and October Falls. Forlatt is rightly regarded as a masterpiece, an album that perfectly weaves the subtle majesty of nature with the breadth of human emotion. I've listened to Forlatt endlessly since I discovered it, and as the years passed and the silence continued, I feared we'd never hear from Vali again. Imagine my joy when Skogslandskap was announced and finally released. But as excited as I was, there was a fear that Forlatt would be an impossible standard to reach again, let alone overcome.

But as soon the first notes of Nordavindens Klagesang rang out from my speakers, I knew my fear was unfounded. Vali's complex fingerpicking sparkles like sunlight through a forest canopy, while the supporting string and wind instruments caress the ear like an autumn breeze. Where Forlatt sounded dark and murky, the production on Skogslandskap is pristine and vibrant. Every instrument resonates clearly and in synergy with the others, painting vivid landscapes in the mind's eye. If you have the equipment, I wholeheartedly recommend listening to the vinyl version, which brings Vali's music to life to the fullest extent.

The progression of Vali's song-writing talent is also immediately apparent. The guitar work on Forlatt was incredible for its combination of atmosphere and technicality, but Vali has matured since then, playing some truly impressive fingerstyle arpeggios (see Sevjedraaper and Skyggespill) and bringing a fresh classical influence that lends the album an aura of grandeur (see Mellom Grantraer and Dystre Naturbilder). And while the album primarily consists of shorter songs, they still manage to cover vast musical terrain thanks to intricate songwriting and sheer emotional intensity: Himmelens Groenne Arr is masterful in its subtlety, using short piano, flute and guitar melodies until they cascade in unison with such beauty that it brings tears to my eyes. Stein Og Bark is another highlight of the album, with its enchanting atmosphere and stirring chorus.

Nine years separates Forlatt and Skogslandskap, and while this is undeniably Vali, it's a fundamentally different experience. Rather than retrace his footsteps and create Forlatt II, Vali has branched out into a deeper, more sophisticated aesthetic. Where Forlatt had a small set of very distinct songs, Skogslandskap is a concept album, detailing a journey through the northern woods from dusk until morning, and it truly excels when listened to in its entirety. From the jubilant yearning of Langt I Det Fjerne to the churning gloom of Lokkende Lyder, the 15 tracks unfold with exacting pace, creating a deeply satisfying experience: by the time the final uplifting notes of Morgengry disappear, you'll be eager to venture back into Skogslandskap's world once again.

If Vali continues crafting such awe-inspiring music, I won't mind waiting 9 more years for his third effort. Time has done nothing to erode his mastery of music, and the creativity flowing throughout Skogslandskap solidifies his place as one of the most talented neofolk musicans active today.


user ratings (214)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
related reviews

Forlatt

Comments:Add a Comment 
mifzal
September 1st 2013


2099 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

finally some good neofolk

mifzal
September 1st 2013


2099 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i think it's better than Forlatt

Amphoteric
September 1st 2013


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I forgot this was already released, have to give it a listen.

Amphoteric
September 1st 2013


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow this is hitting me hard already and I'm only on the 4th track

Relinquished
September 1st 2013


35488 Comments


this is awesome but there's no Nordlysets Dans qualitylike tracks so

mifzal
September 1st 2013


2099 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is how not to fuck up music if you are to going release an album a decade later.

adarkishman
September 2nd 2013


627 Comments


holy shit need to get this

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2013


26353 Comments


Didn't know this was out yet. Gotta check.

Evreaia
September 2nd 2013


4832 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

damn sweet album

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2013


26353 Comments


This is an excellent review btw, especially for a first.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2013


21578 Comments


NEED TO CHECK THIS

Digging: Carved Cross - Carved Cross

Evreaia
September 2nd 2013


4832 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

well worth the 9 years wait, everything is perfect

Tyrael
September 2nd 2013


21008 Comments


Wtf I had no idea this was coming out

need

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2013


26353 Comments


Who the fuck negged this?


One thing I noticed though:

Skogslandskap is concept album


I think you need an 'a' in there.

Evreaia
September 2nd 2013


4832 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

mellom grantraer, lokkende lyder and skyggespill are like the best things ever

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 2nd 2013


26353 Comments


I'm really stoked to hear this now what with all the praise it's getting.

mindleviticus
September 2nd 2013


9009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i want this

Amphoteric
September 2nd 2013


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I Skumringstimen is magnificent

Evreaia
September 2nd 2013


4832 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

its pretty much a continuation of Forlatt, but just as good. So if you liked that, you'll love this

Jruined
September 2nd 2013


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm not even bothering with a leak. I got my preorder in and I'll just wait a bit and listen when it gets here.



Glad to hear it lives up to expectations.



Pos.



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