Aethenor - En Form for Bla
Aethenor are a collective of musicians from various high-profile experimental and improvisational bands, and this marks their fourth record together. Comprising Stephen O’Malley (Sunn 0))), KTL), Daniel O’Sullivan (Mothlite, Guapo), Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver) and Steve Noble ( N.E.W.), the group explore deep into a world where ‘rock’ music becomes abstract and unrecognisable. But that’s not to say that this is just a collision of sounds with no real thread to it, in fact the opposite is most definitely the case.
Being an act that seems to favour playing live rather than being holed up in a stuffy studio, En Form for Bla was crafted over three gigs in Oslo, showing the band at the height of their improvisational prowess. Starting with a twinkle of Fender Rhodes piano on opening 14-minute track ‘Jocasta’ they immediately show their penchant for delicate melodies, so delicate that they are shattered by walls of noise not long after before descending into throbbing electronics and a hail of percussion and bass.
Part of the joy of this album is trying to guess what each sound is, and Aethenor sure do use a vast amount of different instruments to construct their lengthy, almost meditative pieces. The keyboard on ‘One Number of Destiny in Ninety Nine’ are truly alien in nature and have a kind of playful sci-fi feel to them. The submerged magical quality to the cymbals on ‘Dream Tassels’ create an atmosphere like no other, and belie the darkened backgrounds of each of the four members.
En Form for Bla is a world away for each of the artists involved in Aethenor, and probably the most fully realised of their full lengths to date, probably owing much to the fact it was recorded in a live setting. Fragile melodies, unpredictable percussion and a unique atmosphere make this the best thing they’ve all done in a while.