Gidge
Lulin


3.3
great

Review

by Jonny Hunter STAFF
March 22nd, 2016 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: a fragment of fragments

Hardly anyone made a fuss about Gidge’s 2014 debut. By which I mean I regret not making a fuss. I remember enjoying it, but was concentrating on something else at the time and the fact I can’t remember whatever the distraction was says volumes about my inability to predict, if art is measured by longevity, how good an album is or will be. Never mind, because the Scandinavian duo have returned with an album-come-soundtrack-come-art piece to offer a chance at repentance, just for me.

It’s surprising, though. Autumn Bells has a kind of open-air, naturalistic character to it, sure, but it set up camp in that particularly clean-cut, blog-ready corner of house (if it can still be called house) which drowns any possibility of unique atmosphere with never-ending build ups and what can only be described as an immaterial sonic varnish – the kind limitting any response to “wasn’t it lovely?”. For Gidge to jump into a conceptual ambient piece like Lulin so early, without so much as an attempt at a watered down sophomore follow-up or a vocal-heavy grasp at mainstream cash-drunk success, is either a sign of admirable constraint or premature resignation. It goes without saying that I respect both scenarios wholeheartedly.

Lulin is quite strange. It is somewhat directionless and hamfisted, but that’s why I like it. To make sense of how this could happen it helps to know what Lulin actually is, which is not a soundtrack or a stand-alone release but a 42-minute compliment to a 20-or-so-minute art film about an old Swedish folk tale set in a dark wood. The film failed to grip me, but then I don’t review films for a reason and Lulin can’t really be grasped without it. The film and album play off each other, almost vampyricly as the film gorges on the location of Autumn Bells’ field recordings and Lulin, the album, takes its structure, purpose and reason to exist in return.

Gidge set out their two 20-minute-plus pieces much like pictorial collages. In “Hon”, Jonatan Nillson’s piano will enter with a mood and one palette of recordings, then fade, then return with another mood and palette. It is not a piece which leads to or explores anything in particular but, rather, creates a string of independent fragments heard in the same space as each other. At the end of “Hon”, these pieces collapse into our character for the Lulin project as a whole. In this way the film, or at least the memory of the film, serves as a foundation for us to experience and interpret Gidge’s sonic fragments. If I were to watch it again the experience would be improved in return by this atmospheric supplementation.

The cultivated atmosphere is familiar but still interesting, with Gidge’s fragments help to turn the standard dark but inviting/unsettling but unthreatening/nearby but unknown Swedish-folk malaise into something a bit more special. Specifically, the distorted vocal at “Hon”’s end lends it some sensitivity and “Byn” wastes no time in throwing a jarring but congruent choral spanner in the works. The listener is left with plenty of flavour to play around with, and just enough space for interpretation to be constructive but remain coherent.

Divorced from the film, Lulin can feel a bit clunky. As “Hon” passes over to “Byn” the broad-brushstroke approach would be jarring without the visual foundation to glue it all together, but to purposely distort the album from its purpose would be cruel. Comprised of fragments, Lulin is itself a fragment and should be understood (and enjoyed) in relation to the rest of the project.

But having seen the film, and moving along with listening and repeating the album, it would be strange to ignore that this listening takes place in a space beyond the film and it’s in this space that Lulin fails to do too much for me. One of the best reasons to listen to soundtracks, complementary fragments or otherwise, is to take a film’s atmosphere and play it off with our immediate surroundings. I did this very recently on a trip to Birmingham, where the mixture of space-age architecture, abject poverty and Vangelis’ Bladerunner OST turned an otherwise miserable afternoon into a cosy daydream. Lulin would no doubt sound fantastic were we all to run off to a dark Swedish forest, but in all the places I have tried and can feasibly be expected to try – Somerset woodland, late-night Bristol, Oxfordshire countryside and “inside” – nothing clicks.

This gives Lulin a pretty tight shelf-life. As mentioned, I am not in a place to be telling anyone how long an album will remain “good”, but my enjoyment of Lulin spikes considerably when thinking about the film and soon after watching it. Once I am out of Lulin’s world, the album doesn’t possess the force to drag me back in and it doesn’t meld well with other atmospheres either. However, while its reliance on the film holds it back, it is also what makes Lulin so interesting to listen to. This means it is quite high effort even for an ambient piece, because listening also requires watching and thinking and deliberately immersing, but then again this is unlikely to turn off anyone who willingly read beyond the first mention of “ambient”.




Recent reviews by this author
Raime Toothkj wake
Tape Loop Orchestra Go Straight Towards the Light of All That You LovePhaeleh All That Remains
Brian Eno The ShipRival Consoles Howl
user ratings (11)
Chart.
2.6
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


2897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Too long, too impersonal.



http://lulin.se/

Sniff
March 22nd 2016


3874 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Too many ideas, too little consistency

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


2897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Too self-absorbed.

Sniff
March 22nd 2016


3874 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Too much of a let down since I really enjoyed Autumn Bells

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 22nd 2016


24865 Comments


Good to see you reviewing again, nice write-up!

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

L4titudes
March 22nd 2016


3439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Really liked Autumn Bells. I'm hoping i'm not as disappointed as you guys were with this.

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


2897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I'm not really that disappointed to be honest. It's different, and has its own merits - going in expecting Autumn Bells will only go badly.



There's an alternate version of "You" if the Autumn Bells itch really needs scratching: https://soundcloud.com/atomnation/gidge-you-other-version

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


2897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Cheers Sowing. Haven't been writing, haven't been listening to new music. Lots of old music though: lots and lots. It's been different.

Sniff
March 22nd 2016


3874 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I was going in to this expecting this to be a slightly more ambient Autumn Bells, a mistake. Gonna give this a few more spins before I make up my mind tho.



Also I'm seeing them live in about two weeks. Gonna be interesting to see what they make of this.

Sniff
March 22nd 2016


3874 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Also I would've pos'd if I could.

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


2897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Oh sweet, I rarely get to see acts like this (it's either bands, full-on techno or ambient/classical stuff) - it's hard to know what it will actually be like. Hope it's good!

Gyromania
March 22nd 2016


23095 Comments


"I remember enjoying it, but was concentrating on something else at the time and the fact I can’t remember whatever the distraction was says volumes about my inability to predict, if art is measured by longevity, how good an album is or will be."

lol what? that whole sentence is entirely pointless and awkward.

"The cultivated atmosphere is familiar but still interesting, with Gidge’s fragments help to turn the standard dark but inviting/unsettling but unthreatening/nearby but unknown Swedish-folk malaise into something a bit more special."

"with Gidge's fragments help to turn" mistake. also the latter half is a disaster. way too verbose and just unnecessary.

not a big fan of this review overall. i think you could cut out a lot of irrelevant information and cut back on the descriptors



StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


2897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I know, I said so.

Missed you.

Asdfp277
March 22nd 2016


15366 Comments


damn strangerofsorts sighting damn

TwigTW
March 23rd 2016


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"(if it can still be called house)" . . . That's a question I ask myself a lot lately.



I would have been happy with Autumn Bell 2, but I like this also. I found it easy to get lost in.

Digging: Mappe Of - A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone

L4titudes
March 24th 2016


3439 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I found it easy to get lost in" you were probably lost in your own thought cause this shit bored me to death

TwigTW
March 24th 2016


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice textures here, just moves very slow. I listen to a lot of stuff at 5am, so that makes a difference. Everything is quiet and slow that early morning--including my brain.

zaruyache
March 25th 2016


17748 Comments


sounds interesting

EatingItchyButthole
April 1st 2016


98 Comments


ima just keep waiting 4 that new pantha du prince joint tbh

Sniff
April 6th 2016


3874 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Just watched the film, unsetteling af.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy