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.
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.
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.