Ulver
ATGCLVLSSCAP


4.1
excellent

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
January 18th, 2016 | 419 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Having folded and condensed a dozen times over the course of their evolution. "ATGCLVLSSCAP" sees the band collapsing in on itself in order to become something new and otherworldly.

"Ulver are cataloguing the death of our culture two decades before anyone else has noticed its inevitable demise." It's a quote that one can really get stuck on. With scorched beginnings Ulver has transformed a dozen times to become this amorphous and transcendent collective that defies musical constraint. In their evolution, Ulver have receded and condensed into something new, showcasing a logical confluence between Terrestrials and Messe I.X-VI.X..

ATGCLVLSSCAP is Godspeed by way of Pink Floyd by way of Sunn O))) by way of a jam band catapulting head first into the ineffable abyss that graces the cover art. It's an conglomerate of a dozen types of sounds and styles that melds into a surprisingly unique yet familiar package. One would hesitantly describe the band's latest record as "post-rock," albeit without the builds, climaxes or superfluous junk that comes with it. Whereas a post-rock tune convinces the listener that the slog to some cathartic climax makes the whole thing worth it, Ulver manage to bring the focus to the peripheral facets of the genre. A static line of electronic blips and subtle guitar will go nowhere, but that's fine. The amount of layers and textures going on make each track blissfully complex and infectious.

ATGCLVLSSCAP is the result of a dozen shows performed in the wake of the band's emotionally ravaging album, Messe I.X-VI.X. Had that information not been revealed beforehand it would be it difficult to tell that this is a live album. A lot of studio magic must have occurred to make it sound the way it does, because the lush production sounds equally suffocating and empty creating a unique sort of hallowed aura. Ulver pay special attention to this backdrop, as it makes every song sound similar, even when they're vastly different. The starkly minimalist "D-Day Drone" and "Desert Dawn" feel akin to the funky psyche fest that is "Moody Stix." Meanwhile the trippy “Om Hanumate Namah” is seemingly tethered to Earth in contrast to the celestial "The Spirits That Lend Strength Are Invisible.”

Moments of duality like this are rife in ATGCLVLSSCAP. Blackened noise stands back to back with soulful groove creating a feeling of unease. This too, is in stark contrast to the overall spiritual and hypnotic state that Ulver create. ATGCLVLSSCAP is constantly lulling the listener into a trance only to challenge them by overloading the senses with harsh sounds and unpredictable shifts in mood and tone. It's challenging, but not in the bull*** way that moderately "weird" music is described. Ulver have truly made music to pummel the psyche and push the boundaries of how music can affect the senses and emotions of the listener.

It is easy to get lost in the task of describing what Ulver has done here. Boiled down, it's a electronics heavy jam album. At its purest, ATGCLVLSSCAP is sensory deprivation in a decaying cathedral; a hypnotic invocation of minimalism and emotional battery that leaves the listener in a different state. After the album has coursed through every empty space within the listener, a numbness sets in. Whether that numbness is from a lack of nothing, or an abundance of something remains to be said because ATGCLVLSSCAP is impossible to pin down. ATGCLVLSSCAP will be different for everyone. But undeniably, it's an entrancing piece of music, collecting every bit of Ulver's legacy and throwing it to the wayside, making room for something transcending the band's 30 year existence.



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user ratings (260)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


42371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this and the new Sun Kil Moon have been pretty huge disappointments

Digging: Strange Ranger - Remembering the Rockets

zaruyache
January 17th 2016


21213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

You said post-rock so I have to jam it.

zaruyache
January 17th 2016


21213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

didn't you just have this at a 4.3 or am I dreaming

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2016


11724 Comments


"beforehand it would be it difficult to" extra 'it'


Great review man, really well written. I really want to check this based on that single I heard recently. For some reason the album title appeals to me too.

"this is a live album"

Even cooler, I had no idea.

Digging: Stahlmann - Bastard

IAmWarhol
January 18th 2016


57 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Where`s the dig it function?

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2016


11724 Comments


Up in the corner above the bar graph it says "user ratings". Click that and on that page near the album title it has a dig button.

ShitsofRain
January 18th 2016


8157 Comments


scrolling the album art is fun

Digging: Big Mack - A Better Way

Tunaboy45
January 18th 2016


16779 Comments


Good review, I'll probably give this a listen.

Artuma
January 18th 2016


30994 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not digging the album title and cover at all

InFlamesWeThrash666
January 18th 2016


9050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the album title is really stupid tbh

Digging: Tool - Fear Inoculum

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2016


16218 Comments


cosmogramma

tommygun
January 18th 2016


26962 Comments


wtf is that album title

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2016


14552 Comments


Basically frontierer orange mathematics artwork

Digging: Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2016


42371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"wtf is that album title" first letter of all the zodiac signs or some shit

EvoHavok
January 18th 2016


7692 Comments


Excellent read, Xeno!

AlphaBetaFoxface
January 18th 2016


89 Comments


Only people will likely accuse Frontierer of ripping it off because they are a smaller band

Gyromania
January 18th 2016


28200 Comments


awesome, can't wait to hear this

bnelso55
January 18th 2016


1337 Comments


Good review. I've been looking forward to hearing this. The prerelease tracks have given me high hopes.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2016


25765 Comments


I respect what Ulver has become, but a piece a me will always kind of wish they would return to black metal, even if just for one album so I could hear what kind of stuff they would come up with.

Digging: Carved Cross - Sapped of Strength, Left to Wither and Fade Away

Gyromania
January 18th 2016


28200 Comments


i must be alone in thinking bergtatt was a pretty w/e album, save for 1 or 2 great tracks. nattens was great though, but i much prefer the direction they've gone in since then. all of their albums are incomparable to one another so i have no idea what to expect with this one



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