As we delve into the captivating sounds crafted by this Norwegian band, it’s worth mentioning that, even in 2023, I find myself discovering this remarkable musical gem for the first time. With its ever-evolving styles and experimental nature, Ulver’s ATGCLVLSSCAP defies categorization and continues to intrigue listeners, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music. Join me on this journey as we explore the allure and timeless appeal of Ulver’s groundbreaking album.
Ulver – a band with extensive musical knowledge
Ulver, a band I’ve never teased or criticized in my reviews, delivered an exceptional album in 2016 that left listeners astounded. Except for their early black metal trilogy, Ulver has never stuck to the same style from one album to the next. Their extensive musical knowledge, creative brilliance, and remarkable experimentation have led them through genres like electronic, symphonic, and noise. However, similar to King Crimson, exploring Ulver’s music can feel like engaging in an intense wrestling match. Amidst the chaos, you’ll encounter inexplicable flashes of genius.
I anticipated a similar experience with ATGCLVLSSCAP (a name that appears as if it was written after the band drank and collapsed onto their keyboards). Yet, I was proven wrong. The 2016 album not only continued Ulver’s tradition of musical exploration but also became their most accessible and enticing work in years. ATGCLVLSSCAP was born from Ulver’s audacious and somewhat mad decision. In February 2014, they embarked on a 12-concert tour without any musical preparation. Each performance was an improvised variation by the band members. The melodies played during these concerts were later recorded, edited, and transformed into the album known as ATGCLVLSSCAP. The seemingly random album title is, in fact, the initial letters of the twelve zodiac signs.
The reason ATGCLVLSSCAP, which initially seemed directionless, became Ulver’s most listener-friendly album in years, lies in its foundation: post-rock. The slow, simple, and mesmerizingly repetitive melodies of post-rock act as the framework that harmonizes all the diverse sounds Ulver creates. The drums undergo energetic and transformative metamorphoses, reminiscent of Sun O))), ensuring Ulver never succumbs to exhaustion. On the other hand, the delicate, vibrant guitar tones of post-rock resemble a shimmering ray of light in Ulver’s signature nocturnal ambiance. Of course, Ulver doesn’t neglect their experiments with electronic elements and the dreaminess of psychedelic rock. This album showcases a perfect balance between experimentation and melodic harmony.
The realeased album – ATGCLVLSSCAP
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Tracklist ATGCLVLSSCAP ‘s review
“England’s Hidden”: “England’s Hidden” sets the tone for the album with its atmospheric and enigmatic sound. The track slowly builds up, immersing the listener in a mystical ambiance. The combination of haunting melodies and ethereal vocals creates a sense of intrigue and curiosity.
“Glammer Hammer”: With “Glammer Hammer,” Ulver takes a more intense approach. The track features a driving rhythm section and layers of distorted guitars, creating a heavy and energetic atmosphere. The vocals add an additional layer of intensity, making it a standout track that demands attention.
“Moody Stix”: “Moody Stix” introduces a mesmerizing blend of electronic beats and atmospheric textures. The track showcases Ulver’s experimentation with different sonic elements, resulting in a captivating and otherworldly experience. The dynamic shifts and intricate soundscapes keep the listener engaged throughout.
“Cromagnosis”: “Cromagnosis” embraces a darker and more mysterious tone. The haunting melodies and brooding atmosphere create an eerie backdrop for the mesmerizing vocals. The track unfolds gradually, weaving a web of intrigue and leaving a lasting impression.
“The Spirits That Lend Strength Are Invisible”: This track showcases Ulver’s ability to create a delicate balance between tranquility and intensity. “The Spirits That Lend Strength Are Invisible” features ethereal vocals and mesmerizing instrumentals, blending together to evoke a sense of introspection and contemplation.
“Om Hanumate Namah”: “Om Hanumate Namah” takes a departure from the previous tracks with its Eastern-inspired sound. The incorporation of traditional instruments and chanting vocals adds a spiritual and meditative quality to the album. It serves as a tranquil interlude that transports the listener to a different realm.
“Desert/Dawn”: “Desert/Dawn” brings forth a sense of vastness and openness. The track captures the essence of a desert landscape with its atmospheric soundscapes and hypnotic rhythms. It evokes a feeling of journey and exploration, inviting the listener to lose themselves in the music.
“D-Day Drone”: “D-Day Drone” takes a more experimental approach, incorporating industrial elements and distorted sounds. The track is characterized by its relentless energy and pulsating rhythm, creating a sense of urgency and anticipation. It serves as a sonic exploration that pushes the boundaries of the album.
“Gold Beach”: “Gold Beach” offers a serene and reflective experience. The delicate piano melodies and gentle vocals create a melancholic atmosphere that resonates deeply. The track unfolds gracefully, leaving a profound emotional impact on the listener.
“Nowhere (Sweet Sixteen)”: “Nowhere (Sweet Sixteen)” presents a dreamy and introspective mood. The ethereal vocals float over a backdrop of atmospheric synths and subtle guitar work, creating a sense of nostalgia and longing. It’s a beautifully crafted track that lingers in the mind.
“Ecclesiastes (A Vernal Catnap)”: With “Ecclesiastes (A Vernal Catnap),” Ulver delivers a tranquil and introspective piece. The delicate piano melodies and ethereal vocals intertwine, creating a soothing and introspective atmosphere. The track serves as a moment of respite within the album.
“Solaris”: Closing the album, “Solaris” brings together all the elements that define Ulver’s sound. The track combines atmospheric layers, dynamic shifts, and captivating melodies to create a grand finale. It leaves the listener with a sense of awe and a desire to explore more of Ulver’s musical journey.
Overview: How worth of this album
Overall, ATGCLVLSSCAP is a masterpiece of avant-garde artistry that showcases Ulver’s ability to push boundaries and explore diverse musical landscapes. Each track on the album offers a unique sonic experience, taking the listener on a captivating journey through atmospheric soundscapes, haunting melodies, and thought-provoking lyrics.