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Anders Brørby: Nihil (Gizeh)

Norwegian
artist Anders Brørby’s latest album Nihil continues his move away
from conventional sounds, starting with an unfurling haze of diffuse
sound. For fans of foggy ambience from the likes of Fennesz, Jefre
Cantu-Ledesma, or Rafael Anton Irisarri, it will feel familiar and,
dare I say it, warm, but Brørby is not content to let that be the
tone for the duration. Despite its tags as “drone” for the genre,
Nihil has a broad dynamic range, and this comes through even as the
opener progresses. A few minutes in and waves of distorted feedback
come crashing in like high tide. Ultimately, it’s perhaps this
contrast of gliding ambience and visceral grind that propels Nihil
and reinforces its name. “Bodies in the Water” could pass as airy
wallpaper if not for the industrial whine of scraped metal that lends
it an extra layer of pathos.

There are some noteworthy exceptions to
that formula of contrast; “I Will Always Disappoint” you aches
with gloom and is a far more musical piece, with all of its parts
working together to evoke the melancholy its title suggests. But
perhaps the most glorious apex of all of these ideas and tactics is
the crushing dreamy noise of “From the Window Above the Lake,”
whose furious blast of feedback takes its soaring sound to new
heights. It all works together well to reinforce the nihilism of the
album’s title, and yet it’s clear that there is a very human hand and
heart behind this music. The contrast of visceral noise and more
emotive and elegant pads and atmospheres makes Nihil one of the more
impressive albums of its kind to grace my ears so far this year.
Highly, highly recommended.

Buy it: Bandcamp