Avgrunden – Gremorian Chants   Leave a comment

Avgrunden is a project by Victor Granat, this hand-numbered CD reproduced on imitation vinyl is a ambient, droning soundtrack of coldness, emptiness and general chilling despair. Victor is a accomplished musician who has a musical vision that crosses the boundaries of genres but at the same time, keeps a impenetrable atmosphere of bleakness going throughout this album called “Gremorian Chants” and on this disc Victor plays an outstanding array of instruments including guitar, sitar, Mandolin, Piano and uses an assortment of samples and electronic effects and gadgets. His influences are wide, varied, not only musical but also in literature. Musically, names are listed like Greg Anderson, Stephen O’Malley to Kurt Cobain but the authors he lists seem to influence the music more, Hunter S. Thompson and H.P Lovecraft are just two and the works of Thompson especially seem to play a role in his musical landscapes.

The album begins with “The Gate Of A Hundred Sorrows”, a slow, ambient piece that brings to mind thoughts of the western plains and rolling tumbleweeds. There is a element of Americana on this track and others that are like a sorry tale of desolated worlds and forgotten lives, its depressing to a point but its also very moving and soothing. “Tears Of Horus”, (Horus being the falcon-headed Egyptian god of light and the son of Osiris and Isis) is a crippling and sorrowful piece of music that is totally ambient, no riffs to be heard, just gentle guitar till halfway into the track when a low frequency, distorted buzz is unleashed. Its backed up with whirling wind sounds that creates a eerie and dynamic backdrop to the mesmerizing atmospherics. “Beneath The Pyramids” for some reason reminds me of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, maybe its the blend of the jagged distorted guitar and real American western vibe, I know I will be the only person to spot the Young connection but there you have it.

This track is typical of most droning, ambient works as its repetitive without much variance but the atmosphere is one of high tension and its beautifully maintained throughout its 11 minutes. “Ode To Russian Literature” is the darkest moment on Gremorian Chants, I say moment even though it extends way past the 16 minute mark. Its heavy on the low-frequencies and light on diversity but like previous tracks, its has a incredibly, rich atmosphere that most other one-man drone projects have trouble reaching. The final track “Deep Sleep #1 (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)” will be a test to see if you really are a true drone lover or not, at 29 minutes, its a struggle to sit through but this beast of a track but it has some fine ambient and heavy doom-laden qualities. Like the track suggests, its a musical version of a hallucination that is based around sustained hums, piercing tone-clusters and throbbing guitar drones. It contains some of the greatest moments on the album but its also the hardest track to stomach in one sitting, after all 29 minutes of this kind of music is hard work for any listener, even one absorbed in the drone, ambient music genre.

Along with Victor Granat, there is guest musicians who add parts of percussion and even vocals but you might find it hard to find the vocal part on this disc, I didn’t till the second spin to be honest. Considering the required tastes involved in appreciating this type of music and then the extended length of the 5 tracks on the album, this will be a tough disc to crasp onto for some but those with a taste for drone and ambient sounds of the heavy kind will dig this. This year has been pretty quiet for high quality works of drone but this is one of the best ambient, drone releases of 2010 and its going to hard to beat. I personally am a big fan of droning ambient music when it is delivered with some thought, great production and most important of all, full of atmosphere and “Gremorian Chants” has more than enough of all that to satisfy from droning urges. 9/10
Avgrunden @ Myspace

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Posted September 8, 2010 by doommantia in Avgrunden

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