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Levander: Halv (Full of Nothing)

of Nothing’s album notes on Bandcamp
namecheck Fennesz, Ben Frost,
and vintage Cure bootlegs as touchpoints and then end with this
statement: “Halv is high-quality mood music for those who keep
getting lost.” Indeed, there is something delightfully immersive
and disorienting about the hazy stride of opener “Innesluten,”
combining some of Ben Frost’s crusty distortion and snarl with a more
refined, gloomy, goth soundtrack, all combining into a sort of
dramatic lurch in the best of ways. While the aforementioned artists
certainly have a type of mood in common with Halv, I’d venture that
an equally compatible comparison is with the Raster-Noton label.
Consider the glitchy bleeps and syncopated bursts of noise of
“Antropocen.” But while Raster-Noton as a label tends to coalesce
around the glitch and digital signal as both a start and end point,
Halv feels more cinematic and expansive. The prolonged swelling of
“40mg” feels large and unbounded, while “Ballast” suggests
something gloomier, more sedate, more understated, before its
arrangement evolves into something crinkly, crunchy, and undulatory.

Halv by Erik Levander

Elsewhere, tracks like “Homo Ludens,” “Autopilot,” and
“Glänta” bristle with nervous energy, propelling the album
forward toward its closing. “Autopilot” in particular heaves with
a heavy-handed lurch that dips its toes into more industrial or doom
material. However, while Halv flirts with some of the grimness that
characterizes most of Ben Frost’s output, the album seems to have
more dynamic range and flirts more with different textures, timbres,
and rhythmic elements to breathe a different sort of life into it.
Admittedly, it’s unusual for me to find so much to like in an album
and yet not know quite what to say about it, especially when it is
likely to make my list of favorites of 2016. I’ve no doubt that fans
of cinematic projects like Bersarrin Quartett, Ben Frost, Murcof, or
Memotone will love Halv as much as I do.

Buy it: Bandcamp