Review Summary: For those who know Ulver well, you may be familiar with the everpresent state of identity crisis that seems to prey on Krystoffer Rygg's musical mind, but to most, this state never ceases to satisfy. While this 23 minute EP continues in the same path Ulve
When people are trying to look into new music artists, one of the token questions is "What is their most representative album"" Now, for most bands, you can choose a middle point between where they began and where they are now.
Then there's Ulver. With Ulver, you have their raw black metal beginnings, their Pagan folk segue period, and the neo-Ulver, that of ambient electronic jazz, avant garde, trip hop, what have you. Now again, who in their right mind would listen to such an instable band" You can't attract the black metallers because now Ulver is untrue. Folk fans won't become dedicated because Ulver's folk discography isn't all that deep, and electronica fans will be turned off by their earlier works. One group that Ulver does appeal to though, is the forward-thinking music listener. People who may not necesarrily like some music because it's written well, or because they sound like band x, y, or z, but because the said band has a unique way of looking at their music.
With that said, Ulver probably didn't pull in too many fans with this EP. This was more of a "Hey fans, this is what we've been up to the past couple of years, hopefully this will tide you over until our next release" type of deal, just as the name of the album denotes. After hearing Perdition City(2000) and Blood Inside(2005), it is definitely clear that A Quick Fix...is a teaser for Blood Inside. Long gone are the piano and breakbeat driven stylings of Perdition City, and in come the oftentimes stacatto string compositions. Of course all three albums hinge on the use of tasteful sampling, but overall, A Quick Fix..is certainly more reminiscent to that of Blood Inside.
The opening track Blue Bird starts up the album with what I would like to think is a definitive sound of what Ulver has become. The track does drag on for quite some time, clocking in at 6:35 while maintaing the same motif throughout. Garm's vocals slathered in reverb are the only thing that shake up the monotony of the track. This is probably the weakest song on the EP.
Following up the weakest track is what I'd like to think of as one of my favorite Ulver songs. Doom Sticks begins with a simple synth melody and developing into heavy martial drum rythm, then spiraling back down into a haunting theme featuring plucked strings and a music box, much akin to the music that would be playing if one woke up whilst having a bad trip on the eve of Christmas. The track segues smoothly into the final original song, Vowels. I like to think of the two songs as one simply because they meld together so nicely; a continued yet varied string rythm, more horns, and Garm creating a baritone chant out of an excerpt from Christian Bok's novel Eunoia. The song eventually transcend the same mood created initially by Doom Sticks and starts into a more involving string motif to lead us into the final track, a rehashing of an older song Nattleite.
Nattleite was initially released on Ulver's album Kveldssanger, which is their one completely acoustic folk album. Renamed Eitttlane for the release of A Quick Fix...the song basically takes what was written and elaborates upon it with the techniques of Ulver's current musical vision. I personally find this version much more appealing, but I've never been a fan of minimalistic folk music, so it only stands to reason.
All in all, in terms of what Ulver wanted to accomplish with the release, they did an outstanding job. Gave their fans a quick fix of melancholy, gave them a taste of what was to come on Blood Inside, and pleased future fans all in one. Not a quintessential release by any means, but excellent nonetheless.